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The Politics of Freedom of InformationHow and Why Governments Pass Laws that Threaten their Power$
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Ben Worthy

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780719097676

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719097676.001.0001

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FOI in the UK: survival and afterlife

FOI in the UK: survival and afterlife

(p.109) 7 FOI in the UK: survival and afterlife
The Politics of Freedom of Information

Ben Worthy

Manchester University Press

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.

Keywords:   FOI, requesters, veto, transparency, accountability, trust, drop

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