Friday, October 28, 2005

Schedule 12A Local Government Act

Received from the ODPM about the delay in amending Schedule 12 A.
17 October 2005 (thanks to Philip for sending)

" ... in autumn last year we consulted on changes to the list of categories of confidential information provided in the 1972 Act. In response to comments received in that consultation we considered making several amendments to the proposals included in the consultation paper, and undertook some redrafting of the amending legislation.

Some difficulty was then encountered regarding the applicability of the Schedule to England and Wales. Following devolution, it was initially not clear whether changes to be made in relation to England would have effect in Wales, and since the National Assembly for Wales is now responsible for this matter within its jurisdiction, we needed to ensure that any legislation we passed would not have an unintended effect beyond our borders. Resolving this issue took some time and the way forward was not
fully clear until the spring of this year.

At this point a general election was called. Following that election the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister received a new set of Ministers and due to competing priorities in this period it has not been possible for less urgent matters to be take forward.

The amendments to Schedule 12A are intended to be helpful to local authorities, their members, stakeholders and general public in clarifying the position with regard to confidentiality of papers and meeting following implementation of the Freedom of Information Act. However the changes to the Schedule are by no means vital for a local authority to allow access to information and meetings or restrict these as confidential. The existing wording of Schedule 12A remains applicable until the new wording is provided for in legislation. For this reason the amending Regulations have not been accorded as high a priority as other, more urgent legislation and matters of policy.

We are currently aiming for the Order to amend Schedule 12A to be laid before Parliament in the next few weeks. Once the draft amending legislation is in place we intend to make this available to local authorities and others who have enquired after its progress."


-ODPM- Local Authority Access to Information - a consultation (PDF)
-ODPM- Access to Information in Local GovernmentA policy paper on the current and future framework governing access to information for Local Authorities in England
Welsh Assembly - Review of Access to Information

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