The wording of the ruling by the Information Tribunal that two early gateway reviews on the ID Cards scheme should be published makes the Office of Government Commerce look foolish.
The Tribunal found, for instance, that the OGC had fielded several (very senior) witnesses, and there were passages in the written statements of more than one witness that read almost identically.
“The Tribunal noted in the course of the appeal that various passages in the statements of more than one witness read virtually identically.”
The Tribunal said the witnesses should have used their words; and it made the trenchant point that the OGC certainly has the money to ensure that the witnesses write their own statements. [The OGC has fielded several witnesses at each of three formal hearings over whether the ID Cards gateway reviews should be published]. This is what the Tribunal said:
“It is important in all cases which come before it, especially those involving major government departments or agencies, for the simple principle to be observed that witnesses should express themselves in their own words. It is certainly not as if the resources are lacking to ensure that such a course is complied with.”
Surely the time has come for the OGC to publish the reviews. Otherwise it’s in danger of being seen as anachronistic beyond redemption, but with lucid intervals.
Government made to look foolish over ID Cards – Computer Weekly
Public Money used against the public interest? – Homeofficewatch
ID Cards database breached by nosey council staff – Computer Weekly
OGC loses FOI ID Cards battle – but does it care?