Information Commissioner asks for information to be disclosed routinely without waiting for requests

Public bodies should automatically release all information that does not need to stay secret, the Information Commissioner is expected to argue.

Richard Thomas, who is stepping down, will say all but the "crown jewels" should be released without waiting for Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.

He will add that the MPs' expenses row was a "coming of age" for openness.

His speech comes a day after proposals to keep cabinet papers exempt from FOI laws for 20 years were announced.

According to an advance text released by his office, Mr Thomas will say the public now expects to be treated as "grown ups".

He will say the leak of MPs' details to the Daily Telegraph, following a court ruling that they must be disclosed, "cemented FoI's reputation as a success story".

Mr Thomas, who is due to stand down before the end of June 2009, will call for a state of affairs where "openness is the norm" within the public sector.

"Public authorities must earn the trust and confidence of the public," he will add.

"They should identify their crown jewels - the information that really cannot be made public - and ensure that other official information is routinely disclosed without waiting for requests."

Open government 'must be routine' (BBC News, 11 June 2009)