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Keeping a lid on information.

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Keeping a lid on information.

Postby Hairyloon » Wed Dec 16, 2015 4:23 pm

Conservative ministers have paid thousands to try and prevent the public from knowing which lobbyists and private health care companies Andrew Lansley met when he was health secretary preparing to privatise the National Health Service.
Lansley constructed The Health & Social Care Act 2012 which became law in April 2013. It has had major consequences for the NHS...

Since he resigned as Health Secretary and quit being an MP, Lansley has been made a peer. He has also been providing Bain and Company, a management consultancy firm, with his expertise on how to advise healthcare firms who have reaped the rewards of his reforms. They commended his reforms and said to previous clients:
what was traditionally locked up in the NHS is going to become available to the private sector.


A freedom of information (FoI) request was submitted to reveal the nature of these meetings, which has embarrassed the government no end.
The government has spent around £30,000 on legal funds to try and keep Lansley’s diary a secret.


http://www.thecanary.co/2015/12/15/tori ... s-secrets/
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Re: Kepping a lid on information.

Postby dls » Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:08 pm

It can be a complex area of law. I have no idea who is defending what and on what grounds. Presumably a court will make a decision.
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Re: Kepping a lid on information.

Postby Hairyloon » Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:53 pm

On the face of the article it appears indefensible to defend what they are defending.
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Re: Kepping a lid on information.

Postby Voldemort » Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:12 pm

It surprises me, perhaps naively that the general public seems relatively unconcerned about repeated lobbying scandals; in my view these conflicts of interest are just another form of corruption. I’m sure it wouldn’t be too difficult to ensure that all forms of lobbying, both the source and objective, to be made public similar to the way on-line petitions operate.
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Re: Kepping a lid on information.

Postby Hairyloon » Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:23 pm

Voldemort wrote:I’m sure it wouldn’t be too difficult to ensure that all forms of lobbying, both the source and objective, to be made public similar to the way on-line petitions operate.

Practically, it would be a piece of cake, but realistically the difficulty lies in getting it past those who benefit from keeping it under wraps.
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Re: Keeping a lid on information.

Postby atticus » Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:21 pm

Voldemort - there is a lot of sense in this. But wouldn't there be the same exceptions for things such as commercially sensitive information, national security etc as exist in relation to Freedom of Information?
Last edited by atticus on Thu Dec 17, 2015 2:50 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Keeping a lid on information.

Postby Hairyloon » Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:31 pm

There would, but I have difficulty in seeing how the public interest in how its taxes are being spent can be outweighed by a company's desire for secrecy.
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Re: Keeping a lid on information.

Postby Voldemort » Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:34 pm

atticus wrote:Voldemort - there is a lot of sense in this. But wouldn't there be the same exceptions for things such as commercially sensitive information, national security etc as exist in relation to Freedom of Information?

I expect it wouldn’t be too difficult to strip out sensitive information in most cases, or at the very least be open to scrutiny to parliament as a whole, if not to the general public.
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Re: Keeping a lid on information.

Postby atticus » Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:39 pm

Wouldn't that pull the teeth of the proposed transparency?
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Re: Keeping a lid on information.

Postby Voldemort » Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:50 pm

Agreed, it wouldn’t be quite as transparent; however it would still be open to much more scrutiny then is currently the case. I can’t think of many legitimate examples of businesses or individuals lobbying the government that would require such sensitive information in the first place.
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