FOI in the UK
Survival and afterlife
in The politics of freedom of information
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The conclusion addresses the issue of why FOI survived, despite a lack of public interest. The UK FOI policy proceeded in distinct stages: an inside struggle followed by an external/internal conflict. The initial success of the White Paper was driven by insiders, rather than outside influence, aided by a particular context and the ignorance or disinterest of many key figures. In the later stages the drivers were very different as a complex interplay of factors kept FOI ‘alive’ as a policy. Government commitment to its manifesto generally and Blair’s public commitment to FOI helped ‘lock-in’ the government to some form of legislation when Parliament and the media applied pressure.

The chapter will briefly examine the UK legislation’s performance since 2000 across various parts of government. Drawing on academic studies (Worthy 2010: Worthy et al 2011) and official analysis (Justice 2012) it looks at the use and impact of FOI. It ends by looking at whether the fears of opponents and the hopes of supporters have come to pass.

The politics of freedom of information

How and why governments pass laws that threaten their power

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