Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.
The UK Government carried out a consultation on the extension of FOI legislation to contractors or companies which "carry out functions of a public nature" between October 2007 and February 2008. The Ministry of Justice has now published its response to that consultation.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) responded to the consultation, arguing that designating private sector organisations as public authorities for FOI purposes would increase their costs, and these costs would be factored into existing and future contracts – thus increasing costs to public authorities and to the public.
The CBI stated in its response that "companies would find it extremely difficult to factor in FOI requests as a fixed cost when contracting with government and could set a price per request instead. This would mean contracts may engender significant additional costs where companies receive a substantial number of FOI requests."
The point was made that information in relation to a particular contract could be requested from both the contractor and the public authority, leading to a proliferation of costs and potential litigation.
The Government said that statutory obligations in relation to accounting, reporting and business ethics help to safeguard the public interest. It concluded that "no general expansion of FOI in relation to contractors is appropriate at the present time."