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Home > News > July 2004 > 08-Jul-2004

Countdown to Freedom of Information - website launched

The Government has launched a website to assist around 100,000 public authorities preparing for the Freedom of Information Act, which comes into operation in less than 130 working days.

Public authorities, ranging from GP surgeries to police forces, local authorities and central Government departments, can use the site, at http://www.foi.gov.uk as a one-stop shop for information about the legislation.

The new website includes resources produced by the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) to help all public authorities implement the legislation, and will be regularly updated as more guidance and information becomes available. These include:

  • Guidance on planning and delivering internal training
  • Guidance on procuring Freedom of Information IT systems
  • Codes of Practice for compliance with the Freedom of Information Act
  • DCA's own Project Initiation Document for implementation

The site also contains a list of every public authority subject to the Freedom of Information Act and easy-to-follow instructions for people who might be interested in making a request for information after it comes into force in January.

After 1 January 2005, the public will be able to request a wide range of information from public authorities, such as minutes of meetings and background material used to formulate policies.

The site also includes background material on how the Freedom of Information Act came into being for those interested in its background.

Information Rights Minister Lord Filkin said: "I am keen that the legislation stimulates a change of attitude towards official information throughout our public services, which must realise that they need to engage the public at all levels. Information is the lifeblood of this participation; accurate and detailed information allows the public to engage, debate and challenge."

"This website will provide a valuable resource for everyone working hard to prepare for the day that the Freedom of Information Act comes into force, which is now less than six months away."

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