12 January 2009
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has made three related rulings under the Freedom of information Act involving the Department of Health. Copies of three committees’ minutes*, which cover the period in which the joint MMR vaccine was introduced (1988), should be released by the Department. The Department initially provided redacted copies of the minutes citing a large number of exemptions** to withhold the requested material.Full press release
The ICO maintains that disclosing the information will help increase the public understanding of the development of the Government’s policy on this issue. The Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, believes that some of the controversy surrounding national immunisation policy has been fuelled by a perceived lack of transparency in the decision making process which fed into the policy and he believes that there is a public interest in countering this perception. Ultimately, knowing who said what and whose opinions were taken into account will facilitate greater openness, accountability and transparency.
Decision notice FS50149373
Decision notice FS50149374
Decision notice FS50149375