UK Information Commissioner 'needs more staff'

Richard Thomas, UK Information Commissioner, wants more resources to cope with the backlog of complaints about government bodies failing to reveal information. Only half of the 2,600 complaints he received last year have been ruled on and he wants more staff to help speed up the process: "I am talking to the Department of Constitutional Affairs about increasing our resources. Obviously we've got to make best possible use of our existing resources but we have not got a huge amount - 29 case handlers."

Mr Thomas is also responsible for overseeing data protection for the whole of the UK, and warns that Britain could "sleepwalk to a surveillance society". He said, "Undoubtedly, technology and the growth in the amount of information being collected does present risks. But one thing I'm really quite pleased about is now there is a much greater awareness of the issues. Those who want to collect information and want to share it are much more alive now to the risks of getting it wrong... in terms of alienating the public, losing trust."

Info watchdog 'needs more staff' (BBC website, 13 February 2006)