Select Committee on Public Administration Second Report


Submitted by the Prime Minister's Office

Thank you for your letter of 9 June seeking further information about why certain information was withheld in answer to some PQs in the last Parliamentary session. I am sorry for missing your deadline.

Attached is a schedule providing more detail, where appropriate, on the reasons why the Prime Minister decided to withhold certain information.

19 July 2000

Subject:Discussions with US Administration
Reason:Exemption 1c - Information received in confidence from foreign Governments is not made public
Subject:M15 and M16 Headquarters Building
Reason:Exemption 1a - Information withheld on the grounds that the reports contained sensitive information which would harm national security or defence. Paragraph 6, Part I of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information also makes it clear that the Security and intelligence Services are not within the scope of the Code, nor is information obtained from, or relating to them.
Subject:Cabinet Meetings
Reason:Exemption 2 - Membership of Cabinet and Cabinet Committees is made public. Information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet Committees is confidential.
Subject:Ministerial Committee on Defence and Overseas Policy
Reason:Exemption 2 - Membership of Cabinet and Cabinet Committees is made public. Information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet is confidential.
Subject:Maxwell Pension
Reason:Exemption 2 - Internal discussion and advice is not made public.
Subject:Private Meetings
Reason:Exemption 2 & 7 - It is not normal practice of Governments to release details of specific meetings or their content as some of these discussions may have taken place on a confidential basis.
Subject:Yugoslavia (NATO) Bombing
Reason:Exemption 1 - For reasons of security, information was withheld about the percentage of bombs and missiles which missed their target.
Reason:Exemption 2 - It is not the normal practice of Government to make public correspondence which is sent in confidence.
Subject:Honours List
Reason:Exemption 8 - Information, opinions and assessments given in relation to recommendations for honours is not normally made public.
Subject:Government contracts
Reason:Exemption 7a - Information which could prejudice commercial or contractual negotiations is normally withheld.
Subject:Internal Histories
Reason:Exemption 10 - Internal Histories are not usually published. However, they are public records and are therefore considered under the Public Records Act (PRA) for release to the Public Record Office. The titles of internal histories are covered by exemption 10 of the Code until proper consideration is given to the suitability of their contents for accelerated release under the PRA or publication.
Subject:Special Advisers
Reason:Exemption 12 - Pay bands are made public but individual salaries are not in order to protect the privacy of the individuals concerned. The exception to this rule is the three advisers (Jonathan Powell, Alastair Campbell in No 10 and Keith Hellawell the UK anti-drugs co-ordinator) who are paid outside normal salary range.
Subject:Leak Investigations
Reason:Exemption 7b - It has been the normal practice of successive Governments not to disclose information on the outcome of leak investigations.

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