Independent follow-up

The Independent newspaper published a follow-up 3 February to its FOI package after hearing from several campaigners.

Whitehall still mired in ‘culture of secrecy’
By Marie Woolf, Chief Political Correspondent
3 February 2005

Campaigners have accused the Government of deliberately “dragging its feet” and failing to crack Whitehall’s culture of secrecy after scores of requests made under the Freedom of Information Act were rejected.

…Heather Brooke, a Freedom of Information campaigner, said the UK authorities were being far less open than in America. Ms Brooke, author of a guide to using the Act, Your Right to Know, said she was disappointed by the lack of openness in Whitehall although there were signs quangos and the police were responding more positively.

The Metropolitan Police had told her the number of attacks in her local London parks. But the Government had refused to tell her how many issues the Attorney General had been consulted about. She said: “There is continuous talk about getting citizens active but they refuse to give out the main tool – information. How can I challenge a hospital closure if I don’t have the information about why it is being closed?”

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