Cry freedom

13th November 2009 at 00:00

When is freedom of information not freedom of information? When the Department for Children, Schools and Families decides the content does not suit it. Witness the response to the Handover Report ("'Go away, we're thinking': Balls blocks FoI request to release cost-saving report", October 30).

Ed Balls, Schools Secretary, has a record of setting up inquiries when he may be in the firing line and using the arrogant excuse that it "would be against the public interest" to avoid releasing information.

This technique takes the heat out of the situation, allowing him to refuse to answer further questions using a suspect sub judice rationale and then report to Parliament when it has no more than 20 members present, none of whom have had the chance to read the report in question.

Claiming that he cannot publish this report to "protect the thinking space" of ministers is hubristic gobbledygook. FoI was supposed to facilitate open government, but that appears to have become another political oxymoron.

Tony Roberts, Admin and membership secretary, NAHT Lancashire.

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