Am I being controversial?
I am opening this - what I hope becomes a discussion, because it is important to me, and I think will resonate with many others - positively or negatively. In Digital Leaders NW we have discussed 'Open Data', 'Data Security' and many aspects of digital information, but we have not talked specifically about how it can just as easily be 'digitally censored'.
The announcement from the report of a commission established in July by Matthew Hancock, Cabinet Office minister has concluded (although I haven't read the whole thing!) that there need to be no changes in the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act 2000. I am slightly surprised, but heartened by the decision.
Regardless -FOI needs to be made more definitive. I am aware of a Council actually using it to gain competitive advantages (for its developer team). Such use is not what it is for. Such uses should be weeded out. What must change is the abuse of the 'vexatious' definition. It is being used to deflect real, valuable enquiries, and it is allowing public sector to hide information too easily. Looking back at where the origins of the 'vexatious' use was derived, that "Dransfield" decision must overturned or revised.
Oxford Dictionary: "Law Denoting an action or the bringer of an action that is brought without sufficient grounds for winning, purely to cause annoyance to the defendant: a frivolous or vexatious litigant"
Note: I have made a number of FOI requests myself. In each case the requests were made for specific or public interest reasons. I am totally transparent: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/user/john_rudkin/requests.
I'd like to see how many times that 'vexatious' has been used, and how its use has grown... but such an FOI might be labelled 'vexatious'?