There does seem to be some indication that 1) FOI is seen as a burden and 2) senior management dislike the concept that someone can request information that is linked to decisions that have been made.
It almost seems to be going full circle with a level of resistance similar to the old NHS Code of Openness.
There are a number of things that need to be kept in mind:
- According to Tony Blair agreeing to FOI was the worse decision he ever made – sometimes peoples worst decisions are exactly the right ones that are needed
- The old NHS Code of Openness actually was not that dissimilar to FOI as it currently stands – the issue is that as it was voluntary it was being repeatedly frustrated and was a factor in deciding that a more statutory basis was needed
- The recent review of FOI in reality found it was not teh burden that people thought. What it did find was that opponents to it made a lot of subjective arguments not backed up by hard fact
- The new ICO has a particular interest in FOI and couple that with changes to the DPA that are coming through organisations had better be careful
The reality is that rather than fighting FOI organisations should just see it as “one of those things”, make sure that processes and procedures allow it to comply and stop making responses subjective and making them reflect “spin”.
The more you interfere the more you find that things go wrong and the more negative an impression you give,