An article in the Daily Telegraph, across the top of page two, follows up our disclosure that the Office of Government Commerce is ordering the destruction of “gateway review” final reports.
The Telegraph’s article, dated 4 June 2007 – Scandal over shredded reports – quotes Oliver Heald, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, as saying that what was going on at the OGC – an arm of the Treasury – was “proof that Gordon Brown had no interest in open government”.
Heald told the Telegraph: “This demonstrates that Gordon Brown’s recent promise to ‘involve and engage people’ more in politics is just more spin.
“The reality is that Gordon Brown’s Treasury is probably the most secretive Government department, frequently dodging questions in Parliament and now issuing orders to undermine the spirit of freedom of information.”
Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrats’ shadow chancellor, has tabled a Commons question that asks a Treasury minister to explain why the order to shred documents was given.
He said: “This is an absolute scandal. The Information Commissioner has ruled that the Government must divulge gateway reviews, which often identify major shortcomings and incompetence in IT projects. For government departments now to be destroying records, apparently under orders from the Treasury, is an absolute disgrace.”
Cable said it was a resigning issue if a minister had given the shredding order, and a disciplinary matter if it was an official.