Sunday, 11 October 2009

When Is A 'Service' Public Or Private?

John Redwood has a most interesting post today entitled 'What is a public service'?.

I refer to this as in attempting to obtain information on the housing associations involved in the tender process of which I am a Panel member, information on which disclosure was refused, it was discovered that housing associations are exempt from Freedom of Information requests. When querying this with the Office of the Information Commissioner I queried whether as registered 'charities' they were liable and was informed that charities are now exempt too, on the basis that housing associations are not 'public bodies'.

It seems odd - and wrong - that any 'service' whether public or private - and whether paid for by the state or the individual - should be excluded from providing information that the user of that 'service' has a right to know.

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