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Ministry of Justice hails impact of FOI legislation on 10th anniversary

More than 400,000 information requests have been made to monitored central Government bodies alone since the Freedom of Information Act came into force ten years ago, the Ministry of Justice has revealed.

Commenting on the 10th anniversary of the legislation, the MoJ said almost 1,000 requests were now received each week by such bodies.

The Ministry argued that FOI had “seen some groundbreaking release of data that has greatly informed public debate and understanding of how public services are performing”.

In this respect it cited publication of the individual mortality rates for all heart surgeons working in the NHS which revealed varying performance levels across UK hospitals.

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The MoJ also claimed that the Act had improved transparency in areas such as public sector salaries.

Justice Minister Simon Hughes said: “The Freedom of Information Act has been a triumph for transparency and this Government has built on its continued success by extending its reach.

“FOI is not only about the high-profile, headline-making releases of information but about the right of the individual to find out about the issues that matter to them. It is a fundamental right of all citizens to be able to hold their Government to account and that is why transparency is vital.”

The minister added: “We have extended FOI to more than 100 new organisations as well as making changes to allow the earlier release of historic central government records.

"We are not stopping there and as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the FOI Act we look forward to making government even more transparent by publishing more information and further extending the reach of FOI."

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