Friday, March 04, 2005

OGC sees red

Government Computing - 1 March 2005
"Whitehall has revealed some details of its 10 most at risk IT projects, following a Freedom of Information request. The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) has released details of IT projects found to be most at risk across Whitehall, but is keeping the projects' identities secret."

The response from the OGC is available as a PDF. Good example of a clear FOI response setting out the reasons for non disclosure.

1 comment:

Watching Them, Watching Us said...

The Office for Government Commerce conducted a very similar "balancing of the public interest" exercise (taking an extra 15 working days on top of the statutory 20 working days) with respect to our FOIA request for the old, out of date Gateway Reviews regarding the Home Office's Identity Cards scheme.

The claim that revealing *any* details would somehow ruin the (as yet undemonstrated) effectivenness of the Gateway Review process, by inhibiting candid internal criticism in the future strikes at the whole concept of "openness" and "transparency".

Why can't the individual identities of consultants and civil servants be redacted, but the project risks and perceived benefits be spelled out ? Obviously there may be difficulties with current work in progress Gateway Reviews, but how can the publication of pervious stages of the Gateway Review Process not be in the public interest ?

Waiting until the Government project has already gone overbudget and failed to meet its objectives is too late.

Even the FOI guidance you pointed to issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers says:

"Candour and Frankness

Claims that disclosure would prejudice the supply of frank and candid information in the future can only be considered where there is a very particular factual basis to support this view. The possibility of future publicity through disclosure may deter immediate release and should provide an incentive to improve the quality of the information/record prior to disclosure."

That seems to be good enough for the Police, who deal with far more sensitive information than the Office for Governmet Commerce are ever likely to come across.