LETTER: Information Act is worth the effort

Giles Roca is right that the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act has had an impact (Public Sector News, 30 May).

FOI is leading to more official information coming into the public domain that otherwise would have remained secret.

It was a simple FOI request, for instance, that led to details on MPs' spending being released. Public bodies must take information rights seriously and disclose more information as a matter of routine.

Regarding Mr Roca's concern about the burden on authorities, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has published new guidance to help in this area. Naturally, there will be times when FOI is uncomfortable, but openness and transparency deserve to be championed.

Individuals also have a responsibility to use the Act properly and authorities should follow the Act's provisions when they receive frivolous or vexatious requests.

We in the public sector use taxpayers' money to carry out our functions. They have a right to know what we do with it.

Susan Fox, director of comms and external affairs, ICO

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