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Access to Government Information - Public Consultation 20 November 2006

A consultation exercise has been launched today (Monday, November 20, 2006) on proposals to strengthen the public’s right of access to Government information.

The move is in line with the policy of the Council of Ministers, supported by Tynwald, that the existing Code of Practice on Access to Government Information should be revised, updated and be made legally binding through the introduction of an Access to Information Bill.

The consultation is seeking views on relevant issues such as the categories of information exempt from disclosure, the status of Council of Ministers minutes, and whether the law should apply to local as well as central government.

Chief Minister Donald Gelling MLC commented:

‘No government in the world offers complete transparency, in the sense of automatic public access to all information. In all freedom of information regimes it is recognised that certain types of information should not normally be disclosed for a variety of legitimate reasons, including protection of personal privacy and effective law enforcement.’

The Chief Minister continued:

'Subject to these boundaries, however, it is important that we ensure that government in the Isle of Man is as open as possible. This is very much in line with this Government’s commitment to the principles of good governance – including openness, integrity and accountability in dealing with public funds and public services – which have been endorsed by Tynwald.
‘This consultation is scheduled to remain open until the end of January next year and hopefully the results will be helpful to the next Council of Ministers and Tynwald in considering how to progress this issue.’

The consultation document will be available from the Tynwald Library, Legislative Buildings, Finch Road, Douglas (priced £2 each) or free online at www.gov.im/cso.

Responses to the consultation, clearly marked ‘Access to Government Information – Public Consultation’ should be submitted in writing before January 31, 2007 to the Chief Secretary’s Office, Government Office, Buck’s Road, Douglas, Isle of Man IM1 3PG or emailed to enquiries.cso@gov.im

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