FOI - no need for change

The Guardian comments that two years ago the introduction of Freedom of Information legislation suggested a change of attitude: a new contract was being forged between government and citizen. But one year later the warning bells began to ring: the constitutional affairs secretary, Lord Falconer, claimed the public's new right was being used to pursue trivia, such as the amount of toilet paper used in his department. The implication was that citizens could not be trusted with the gift they had been given and a review was commissioned which highlighted the costs of the FOI regime.

And now proposals are being considered by the government which could limit considerably the effectiveness of the legislation.

The Guardian concludes that there is no need for change: "The act - itself a compromise - is generally working to the benefit of citizens. It would be an act of folly to emasculate one of the initiatives of which New Labour can feel justifiably proud."

A corrosive compromise (The Guardian, 5 March 2007)