Freedom of Information (FOI) law is set to be extended to private companies carrying out public contracts, a government minister said recently.

Justice Minister Simon Hughes said We do intend to extend [Freedom of Information] further as soon as it will be practical. We intend to publish a revised code of practice to make sure that those private companies which carry out public functions have freedom of information requirements in their contracts and go further than that and we hope that will be in place by the end of this year.

So, Government contractors could soon be subject to the same rules which give public access to recorded information held by public authorities when requested. This change in the law could even occur by the end of this year.

This is a reversal of Government policy when last year it ruled out such an extension. However there has been increasing pressure on the Government to act.

If the intended FOI requirements are introduced into Government contracts then contractors will need to review the terms of their existing contracts and put in place internal procedures to deal with the storage and disclosure of records.

Watch this space…

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