Monday, December 20, 2004

FOI forces Treasury rethink

Freedom of information forces Treasury rethink
By Nicholas Timmins, Public Policy Editor
Published: December 20 2004 02:00 | Last updated: December 20 2004 02:00

The Treasury is reshaping the way it drafts papers and gives advice to ministers in the run-up to the Freedom of Information Act, which takes effect next month. 20th Dec.

Policy advice and analysis was being split so that the two could be separated, potentially allowing the public access to the analysis that lay behind policy decisions, the Treasury said.

Under the legislation, advice to ministers is likely to be exempt from disclosure in order to allow frank discussion within government of policy options. But the act should make available much more of the factual analysis on which decisions are based, the Treasury has conceded.

It and the Department for Transport have been running a pilot scheme since the autumn in which the two are clearly separated, with other departments expected to follow suit.

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