Extending the Freedom of Information Act to Companies


London, UK

Issue 34 (November 2007) of PL&B's UK newsletter included a report on a Ministry of Justice consultation on extending the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to private sector companies carrying out public sector tasks or for public sector bodies.  Such an extension would have a major impact on the companies coming under the FOIA including:

  1. having to assess the areas in which for your company this extension of the FOIA becomes a risk and/or an opportunity.
  2. a cultural change of increased transparency resulting from having to respond to requests on many aspects of your operations
  3. needing to appoint staff to handle the requests likely from competitors, journalists, consumers, environmentalists and other interest groups.

Much depends on how the government decides to extend the FOIA and several options are presented in the consultation document: consultation on FOI section 5 -  Freedom of Information Act 2000: Designation of additional public authorities – it was launched on 25th October, and will run until 1 February 2008.

PL&B Consultation Meeting

To discuss this extension of the FOIA, Privacy Laws & Business has organised a consultation meeting in London on the morning of 21st January to gather business views on the various options presented by the government and send them to the Ministry of Justice. This schedule allows enough time for you to study the consultation paper, PL&B to write a draft response, check it with the participants, and submit it the Ministry of Justice before February 1st. 

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