Freedom of Information government debate (24th January 2013 - 1.30pm)
24/01/13 Reverse order Timestamp format
Good morning, coverage here will begin at 1.30pm when the debate starts.
I'm having some technical difficulties in a well know (tac paying) hot beverage establishment but the live blog will be running shortly.
A summary of the government's response is being read to the MPs that have turned up to the debate.
The debate is supposed to last for three hours, although with the number of MPs that are in attendance it might not take so long.
The use of the government veto of FOI requests is being discussed at first.
There will always be criticism of any minister who tried to use the veto, a "severe challenge" will be met, says the scrutiny committee chairman.
Alan Beith, is the chair of the scrutiny committee, who is speaking first.
He says criticism caused by the FOI act is a price worth paying for the openness it creates.
Section 12, the cost limits of the act, says the government disagrees with the committees proposal that redaction should be included in the time taken to process a request.
He says if the government makes changes to the stop users who make 'industrial' request could damage local journalis.
Alan Beith: For unusual and frivolous request including questions "asking about ghosts," should be easy to answer when data is not available.
On time limits, he says, they should be introduced for public interest exemption tests and internal reviews.
On University research he says there is an ongoing problem with pre-publication of research done by universities. He is grateful the subject the government has accepted the decision to introduce a new exemption.
The committee thinks the Information Commissioner's role should be a government office.
Alan Beith: The Freedom of Information act been a significant enhancement of our democracy which is working well.
Elfyn Llwyd on FOI now: When it did inf act come it proved to be a landmark piece of legislation. It has revolutionised the way members of the public have been able to communicate with public authorities.
Before the provisions came into force information on decision making was obtainable through official documents and leaked information which made its way into the press.
MP Elfyn Llwyd: says that internet searches have meant that publication schemes have not worked as people can search for it themselves.
Elfyn Llwyd, because of the internet the public now expect more information easily.
Elfyn Llwyd: evidence heard FOI is used by those in a political process rather than bringing new ones into it.
The debate has been suspended until 2.30pm.
Unfortunately, the liveblog is also going to stop at this time as well (due to a meeting).
Come back to the website tomorrow morning for a full report on the debate.
The rest of the debate can be watched here: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=12257