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Freedom of Information

Volume 535: debated on Tuesday 8 November 2011

This month we extended the Freedom of Information Act to a further three bodies—the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Financial Ombudsman Service and UCAS. Additionally, we intend to extend the Act to over 100 more organisations through the Protection of Freedoms Bill. We have also begun consultations with more than 200 further bodies about their possible inclusion. Next year we plan to consult 2,000 housing associations and the housing ombudsman.

I thank the Minister for his response and for the progress made by his Department. As he knows, Network Rail is responsible for spending billions of pounds of public money each year. Will he ensure that that organisation is brought within the scope of the Freedom of Information Act?

The Government are committed to making Network Rail more accountable to its customers, and believe that there is a strong case for its inclusion in the FOI.

Community organisations often have a great deal of trouble getting information out of local councils via the Freedom of Information Act. What plans does the Minister have to make the Act as currently drawn, with the organisations currently included, work better?

If the hon. Lady has problems to be addressed, she should write to the Ministry of Justice and we will take them up.