Freedom of Information laws to extend to IT outsourcers

It looks like the government will soon extend the Freedom of Information Act to private companies including IT suppliers to government.

A recent Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report into government procurement reported that suppliers “were content that Freedom of Information provisions should apply to public sector contracts with their companies.”

Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes said the change would be written into the contracts of companies after the publication of a new code of practice, which should be in place by the end of this year.

“We intend to publish a revised code of practice to make sure that those private companies that carry out public functions have freedom of information requirements in their contracts, and go further than that, and we hope that will be in place by the end of this year.”

This will improve the transparency of suppliers and address concerns that they are not open about the details of contracts.

The PAC report said: “Government is clearly failing to manage performance across the board, and to achieve the best for citizens out of the contracts into which they have entered,” said the report.

“Government needs a far more professional and skilled approach to managing contracts and contractors, and contractors need to demonstrate the high standards of ethics expected in the conduct of public business, and be more transparent about their performance and costs.”

It would make a change if a report into government procurement actually results in changes, rather than just pages and pages in report after report coming to the same conclusions with nothing actually done.

Let me know what you think? Are you tired of endless reams of paper being wasted on reports into government IT procurement?

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