ICO asks public to Tell Me More about what information should be proactively released
News release: 25 November 2011
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) today launched a consumer campaign aimed at getting the public to offer their views about what information public authorities should proactively release.
The 'Tell Me More' campaign will run alongside the ICO’s existing consultation on the content of publication schemes - the documents that set out what information a public authority will make available about how they work.
Head of Policy Delivery at the ICO, Steve Wood, said:
“'Tell Me More' is an opportunity for the public to tell us what they want to know upfront about their local council or a government department. Of course, people can make FOI requests for information – but publication schemes are about ensuring that the most requested information is already out there for all to see. I want to encourage members of the public, journalists and campaign groups to complete our survey to help ensure that we have a model publication scheme that is fit for purpose and reflects their interests.”
The Freedom of Information Act makes it a legal requirement for all public authorities to proactively publish certain information about the way in which they conduct their business – information that is in the public interest. Most public authorities make this information available via their website. This could be information about staff pay in government departments or planning permission granted by local councils.
The ICO’s latest annual research, published in November, showed that only 50% of people are satisfied that the information that they want to see about the government and other authorities is available and accessible. Meanwhile, 81% of people interviewed agreed that being able to access information held by public bodies increases awareness about what they do.
The 'Tell Me More' survey should take no more than three minutes to complete and asks what information people want to know about their public authorities, as well as how awareness of publication schemes can be raised.
The type of information that public authorities are currently expected to publish includes:
- Organisational information – for example; structures, locations, roles and responsibilities.
- Financial information - what the authority spends and how they spend it.
- Pay and grading structures – including staff allowances and expenses.
- Election results.
- Major policy decisions and procedures – for example, admissions policies in schools and universities.
- Public registers.
- Procurement and contracts – for example, details of procedures used for the acquisition of goods and services.
- Meeting papers, agendas and minutes - from senior management level meetings.
Notes to Editors
1. The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
2. The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
3. Anyone who processes personal information must comply with eight principles of the Data Protection Act, which make sure that personal information is:
- Fairly and lawfully processed
- Processed for limited purposes
- Adequate, relevant and not excessive
- Accurate and up to date
- Not kept for longer than is necessary
- Processed in line with your rights
- Not transferred to other countries without adequate protection
5. If you need more information, please contact the ICO press office on 0303 123 9070 or ico.gov.uk/press