The government will not make changes to the Freedom of Information’s code of practice before the end of this Parliament.
It had previously announced that it would amend the Section 45 code of practice to make sure that “private companies that carry out public functions have freedom of information requirements in their contracts”.
Simon Hughes, the justice minister responsible for Freedom of Information, made the announcement in answer to a written question to Parliament.
In responding to the query from Labour’s Chi Onwurah Hughes said that he “regrets” it will not be possible before Parliament is dissolved.
In answer to the written question, Hughes said:
We have previously made clear our intention to issue a revised Code of Practice under section 45 of the Freedom of Information Act (‘FOI Act’). I regret that it will not now be possible to bring forward the Code of Practice during this parliamentary session as we had previously intended.
However, we do recognise the challenge which the outsourcing of public services poses for transparency. It is our wish that public authorities and their contractors should interpret their FOI obligations broadly, in a way which applies as high a level of transparency as possible, and takes due regard of the principles for public authorities required by the FOI Act.
This is one of the reasons why, outside the context of the FOI Act, all central Government contracts over £10,000 have been published on Contracts Finder since 2011.