FOI scope to be extended from next year

The Freedom of Information Act will be extended to cover four more bodies from next year.

Justice Minister Michael Wills announced last week that the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) will be opened up to greater public scrutiny.

They will be joined by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and Academy Trusts – the bodies responsible for Academy Schools.

The changes, which are expected to come into force in October 2011, are in response to a consultation that concluded two years ago.

A further Government consultation is to consider extending the reach of FOI to include bodies such as Network Rail and utility companies.

Wills said: "Since we introduced the Freedom of Information Act there has been a major and welcome increase in the amount of information that the public have access to.

"This has transformed our politics, making Government and other public organisations far more open and transparent, and answerable to UK citizens…

"The organisations we will add to the Act make key decisions which affect the lives of millions of people across the country. It is only right that they are also subject to the FOI Act and the additional accountability it brings to decision-making."

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