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Commercial Confidentiality

Volume 402: debated on Thursday 3 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department issues to civil servants on how to deal with claims from organisations that the information they provide to the Department is commercially confidential. [105557]

All those working for and on behalf of the Department have a duty to protect all official information we are entrusted with by ministers, the public and outside organisations.It is not standard practice to verify claims of commercial confidentiality on receiving information from organisations, as this issue is normally only relevant if the question arises as to whether or not the information should be disclosed to another party. The Code of Practice on access to Government Information—and the guidance on the operation of the Code—helps officials determine whether such information should be disclosed or withheld in response to an individual request.