The extension of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act has improved openness in Government, Lord McNally said.
Speaking to stakeholders and FOI experts at a Westminster Legal Policy Forum, the minister said:
‘The FOI Act and the Government’s wider transparency agenda take us further down the road of delivering the openness and accountability that the people of this country deserve.’
The minister said transparency was the foundation of accountability, adding, ‘People should be able to hold the public sector to account over how their money is spent and the decisions made on their behalf.’
Lord McNally also spoke about the challenges that FoI presented, saying that delivery of increased transparency was ‘not straightforward.’
‘There are a number of key issues and challenges that we must address to ensure delivery,’ he said.
‘There is no point, for instance, in pushing out a wealth of information if the cost of doing so far outweighs the potential benefits to be gained.’
He added that while it was vital that more information was made available to the public, sensitive information should be adequately protected: ‘We must ensure that people’s privacy is preserved and that their personal data is protected.’