(DPP v Smith
 1 VR 63 at 75 for those lawyers amongst you who like to check my facts)
Interestingly, Graham Smith of the ICO later argued that the private sector was effectively covered under the existing Act, as FOI continues to cover services provided on behalf of public bodies.
Lord McNally stated that the changes to the Information Commissioner's role proposed in the Protection of Freedoms Bill were designed to strengthen the independence of the Commissioner.
The Commissioner himself welcomed them later in the day, though he
did suggest that if the Commissioner is only to serve one term, that term ought to be longer.
Graham Smith, Director of FOI at the ICO, struck a cautious note.
commented that FOI
was certainly embedded in the public sector; everyone knows they have to comply, but whether they want to is very much another matter.
There is a culture of compliance rather than openness at present, in his
The Government's transparency agenda is very much welcomed by the ICO
spoke of a lack of political direction on openness in the past which has contributed to lack of progress in changing the culture.
An interesting point raised by Graham
was the fact that our FOI legislation was very much designed with paper record-keeping systems in mind.
Now that much of the work of Government
is carried out electronically, does that affect the effectiveness of the Act?
observed that the private sector appeared to be 'waking up' to FOI
Not just in terms of using it, but in realising the implications of FOI
for their dealings with the public sector.