SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
- We continue to be disappointed by the failure
of many departments to adopt a practice recommended by this Committee
and accepted by the Government, and recommend again that the Government
ensure that where Departments withhold information under an exemption
in the Code of Practice (or later under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000) they invariably cite the relevant exemption.
- We recommend that when Departments are considering
refusing to answer a question on the grounds of 'disproportionate
cost' there should be a presumption that any of the requested
information which is readily available should
- We deplore the practice of leaving a question
unanswered until another Member tables a similar question and
then answering the second question first and the earlier one only
by reference, and recommend that in cases where two similar questions
are tabled the Member who tabled the question first should receive
the substantive answer.
- We deplore the practice of answering part
only of a question and ignoring the rest, whether it arises out
of policy or slackness; we recommend that Departments should introduce
stringent checks to ensure that all parts of a question are addressed.
- We hope that following the intervention of
the Cabinet Secretary and the Minister there will be improvements
in departmental responses to Members in the next Session of Parliament.