With friends like these…?

I’ve been doing a little digging on some ‘users’ of the Government’s new FOI User’s Group. It seems our man representing the business user (Anthony Kenny from Intellect UK) is in fact a supplier. Ideally, a small business group should be in this position as they are the primary business user of FOI. Small businesses seek documentation such as tenders, contracts and correspondence to ensure publicly funded deals are awarded on a fair and equal footing with big business. Instead, Intellect represents businesses such as BAE Systems and Thales, the massive weapons manufacturers. I’m sure there’s nothing they’d love more than for the public to demand the ins and outs of all their multi-million pound government contracts. Here’s what BAE gets up to when not campaigning for FOI:

Another advocate for openness on Intellect’s board is EDS. There was a story about them in today’s paper:
MPs claim EDS deal will bias award of contracts

In written evidence to the Parliamentary select committee (pp 36-39), Intellect made clear it is against disclosure of contracts between private companies and public authorities. “Suppliers have frequently been asked to accept FOI clauses,” they moan, adding that “a supplier will often have little time to prepare for press coverage that may be generated, and for the potential effect disclosure may have on a company’s reputation and brand image.” Poor diddums!

As I’ve said before – if your nose is in the trough, expect to have your tail tweaked. If public accountability is so awful, there’s an easy solution. Stop taking public money!

So that’s Intellect for you. Anthony Kenny’s bio says he works for Deloitte and chairs Intellect’s Freedom of Information Act Working Group. The group’s aim is to, “provide some practical steps that will enable suppliers to mitigate the risk of their information being disclosed improperly.” It goes on to state: “We are also in discussions with OGC [Office of Government and Commerce] and DCA regarding how the implementation of the Act can be improved to take into account suppliers’ concerns.”

They’ve obviously done a pretty good job as the DCA’s put them on the user group in place of any actual users.

One Response to “With friends like these…?”

  1. Anthony Kenny says:

    Heather

    In all work that Intellect does it looks to represent all its members.uppliers of all sizes are Suppliers are increasingly interested in using the act.
    That said suppliers are correctly concerned about the possible
    disemination of their confidential information.
    In my role on the User Group I am not repsresenting Deloitte but Intellect
    the whole range of members.
    I am interested in your views/concerns so feel free to e-mail
    Ironically I almost bought your book last month – I will now.

    Anthony

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