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A petition has launched calling for private providers of public service to be subject to the FOI act.

The creator Steve Walker says private companies being awarded public contracts “deprives the British people of the right of access to important information” and removes their accountability from the public.

The petition says:

The government is making it increasingly easy for private providers to bid for, and win, contracts to provide public services – but these companies are currently not subject to the FOI Act.

The petition needs 100,000 signatures before September 2013 to be passed onto government ministers and potentially be departed in Parliament.

Walker started the petition, he says in a blog post, after reading an article in the Guardian newspaper detailing the £20bn private companies will receive for completing contracts based on public sector work.

He says:

If private providers wish to provide public services, they must do so on the basis that they are subject to exactly the same provisions of the FOI Act that a public body doing so would have to face – but without being able to claim ‘commercial confidence’ as an exemption.

To view the petition click here. 

I am a journalist and author. I am a journalist at the UK edition of WIRED magazine. In 2015, my first book Freedom of Information: A Practical Guide for UK Journalists, was published. My second book Reed Hastings: Building Netflix, was published in March 2020. I created FOI Directory in 2012 and have maintained it in my spare since ever since.