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Freedom of Information

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 8 November 2006

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will designate Network Rail a public authority for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. (99627)

We are still considering the impact of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 on public bodies covered by the legislation and have not yet reached a view on the use of the power contained in section 5 of the Act which provides for extension of coverage.

However, Network Rail is required to provide information to the Office of Rail Regulation about its public functions. The Office of Rail Regulation is subject to the Act, and the hon. Gentleman will be free to approach it.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many Freedom of Information Act requests received by her Department in the last 12 months were cleared by special advisers before being (a) accepted and (b) rejected. (99635)

Under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, public authorities are required to accept requests for recorded information submitted in writing by any person. Special advisers in my Department operate in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers. They have no role in accepting FOI requests.