It looks as if Spy Blog has won another round in the long running attempt to get some of the background information on the Home Office's Identity Cards Programme, which should have been made public before the Identity Cards Act 2006 was debated in Parliament. We suspect that what was missing from the initial project assumptions will be as important as what was actually considered.
EA/2006/0068 and 0080
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)
02 May 2007
OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT COMMERCE
The Tribunal upholds the decision notices dated 31st July 2006 and 5th October 2006, except that we find that section 33 as well as section 35 FOIA is engaged, and dismisses the appeals.
90. The Tribunal has considered all the circumstances of this case and finds that the public interest in maintaining the exemption does not outweigh the public interest in disclosure. In other words we uphold the Commissioner’s Decision Notices in this case.
92. The Tribunal orders that the disputed information is disclosed to the complainants. However before requiring this order to be carried out we are prepared to give the parties 14 days from the date of this decision to make written submissions to us as to whether the names of the individuals listed as Reviewers and Interviewees in the disputed information should be redacted. Once we have determined this matter we will then require the OGC to disclose the information in whatever format we determine within 14 days of that determination.
Date 02 May 2007
The only crumb of comfort for the OGC is that the Information Tribunal rejects the idea that the "floodgates will open" for the disclosure of all Gateway Reviews, they say that each case needs to be looked at on its merits, but they have rejected the OGC's attempt at what amounts to a blanket exemption from the Freedom of Information Act.
How much public money has this long running defence of secrecy and obscurity cost the taxpayer ?
Will Gordon Brown's Treasury waste even more money, by appealing against the Information Tribunal in the High Court ?