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FOI reveals Diners and Disasters

A flurry of information as well as accusations of foul play have surrounded the coming into force of The Freedom of Information Act on January 1. The headline news has surrounded revelations such as the Treasuryís secret archive tracing the UKís withdrawal from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism on Black Wednesday, September 16 1992, at an apparent cost of £3.2billion.

There have been accusations of the selective release of information by the Government designed to embarrass its opponents. There have also been intriguing releases such as details of official dinner guests at Chequers who have included: Joan Collins, Bono, Mick Hucknall, Delia Smith and Sting as well as General Sir Charles Guthrie GCB LVO OBE ADC, Dickie Bird MBE and Emma Thompson.

On February 14 the Department of Constitutional Affairs spelt out further the role of the Information Commissioner in promoting and enforcing the Act.

The IC reports to Parliament and is not answerable to Government in respect of the exercise of his functions under the FOI Act, Data Protection Act and EIRs.

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