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Freedom Of Information Act 2000

Volume 669: debated on Thursday 24 February 2005

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What is their policy on disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 of entries in official ministerial diaries detailing the names of persons who attended meetings with Ministers and the dates of such meetings. [HL1196]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs
(Baroness Ashton of Upholland)

All requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, including information relating to records of meetings are considered on a case-by-case basis. The Freedom of Information Act operates on the presumption that all information held by public authorities should be available, subject to the 23 exemptions of the Act. Whether or not information is exempt under the Act requires the exercise of judgment in each case. The majority of the exemptions also require that the public interest in releasing the information should be weighed against the public interest in withholding it. If the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in withholding it, the information must be disclosed. The assessment of the public interest has to be made in all the circumstances of the case, on a case-by-case basis as far as each request is concerned.