Monday, 11 January 2016

Extending Freedom of Information laws to include private companies

I received an interesting e-mail from 38 Degrees this
evening which got me thinking about the Freedom Of Information Act in the UK. I saw the Act in action during my time working at Wealden Council a couple of summers ago and witnessed the care taken to assemble accurate data in response to the wide variety of queries made. However, members of the public only currently have the right to query how public bodies spend public funds. When private companies are given contracts to spend public money, all transparency vanishes! How can that be right?

38 Degrees said, "Unlike the NHS, companies like Serco, Virgin and G4S aren’t covered by transparency laws. So, even though they’re providing our healthcare, we have no right to know what they’re up to.

In the next few weeks this could change. The government’s “considering” extending transparency laws - Freedom of Information (FOI) - to include private companies. This’ll mean we can expose the huge corporations carving up our precious NHS for profit.

Over one hundred thousand 38 Degrees members have ranked protecting the NHS as our top priority for 2016. Extending FOI laws to anyone providing public services would help us prove to NHS bosses that services provided for profit don’t put patients first.

Just a few months ago the government were planning on watering down FOI laws. Thanks to tens of thousands of 38 Degrees members getting involved, now it looks like they’re listening. So let’s set the bar higher, and make sure that no private company who spends public money can hide what they’re up to.

The idea’s been leaked in the newspapers. And politicians will be seeing what reaction it gets: a huge petition now, signed by hundreds of thousands of 38 Degrees members, could tip them the right way.

Please will you sign the petition to David Cameron now? "

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