The Independent Commission on Freedom of Information was announced exactly one month ago yesterday, but no more information has been given out about its work.

Fortunately, now that 20 working days have passed, some information about the review might start to flow from FOI requests sent to the Commission’s sponsoring department, the Cabinet Office.

Alas, this isn’t the case.

In the four weeks since the Commission was announced it has been criticised for being hypocritical, damaging to democracy, and not including anyone who is pro-transparency.

By a happy coincidence FOI trainer and consultant Tim Turner asked the Cabinet Office for some more details about the review.

Today the department, which is now responsible for FOI, replied and refused to provide information about those on the Commission, Jack Straws discussions about it, or those who were considered to be on the panel.

The full response to Turner’s request can be found below.

With just three months until the Commission is due to report (at minimum a public consultation has to be two weeks) the time for a engaged public debate is shortening.

UPDATE: The Cabinet Office has also refused another FOI request relating to Commission’s work. The request – which can be found on WhatDoTheyKnow – asked for advice about the transfer of FOI from the Ministry of Justice to the Cabinet Office. The transfer of responsibility was announced at the same time as the creation of the Commission.

Image courtesy of Cabinet Office via Flickr / Creative Commons Licence. 

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 time ever since.