Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said hundreds more tax-payer funded and charitable bodies should be opened up to scrutiny under the Freedom of Information Act.
Clegg’s annoucement follows a review of FoI legislation by the previous Government.
In April it was revealed that the Association of Chief Police Officers, UCAS, Academy Trusts and the Financial Ombudsman Service would be brought under the scope of FoI from October this year.
Now Clegg told the Daily Mail today that the Coalition Government is committed to going further in extending the public’s right to know.
Until now only public authorities have been subject to the 2000 Freedom of Information Act which, despite many limitations, broadly states that information should be released if the public interest in disclosure outweighs the public interest in keeping it secret.
Clegg told the Mail: ‘This Government is going to restore British freedoms. It is part of our wider project to resettle the relationship between people and government.
‘Free citizens must be able to hold big institutions and powerful individuals to account, and not only the government.”
He said that the Labour government responded to repeated calls for the Freedom of Information Act to be extended by ‘kicking the issue into the long grass”.
Clegg is also expected to announce today that the 30-year rule delaying the release of many government documents will be reduced to 20 years, with the change phased in over 10 years from 2013.
This follows a review of the 30-year-rule instituted by the Labour government in 2007 and led by Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre. Dacre had recommended a reduction in the time-limit to 15 years.
According to the Daily Mail, the first batch of records from 1983 and 1984 will be transferred to the National Archives in 2013.