Friday, June 15, 2007

FEE-DOM OF INFORMATION UK

Its a wonderful open democracy in Britain where Public Services are in charge of so much and get by without too much open view and criticism into them ... There's no doubt there is some good democratic practice too..........Somewhere ....

The facts though go something like this : if you use the Freedom Of Information Act be very aware that there is growing culture of resistance in Britain to opening to view .

Mass disengagment has been mollified by giving out small amounts of power into bodies that actually do not command much support - its a kind of pretend UK democracy . We are all in it okay - up to our newly browned off necks ..

The FOIA held out some hope of more citizen action and joined up digital groups but we wonder how these things might be weakened with the bureau-tendency to dampening down on FOIA rights and without accurate information what's left is the resultant monopoly of manager-speke reporting, that most of us without control over our own fates and services have to listen to numbly ..

Its astonishing in an age of digital capture of information that authorities all over the UK have made such a song and dance about limiting information to the public. But there it is . Services like to manage the view that others have about them - we know they even employ their own public image promoters in Birmingham. Image-therapists perhaps ? To make the bent look straight . Lord Faulkner was called in to head the FOIA review to basically defend the politicians right to remain invisible. More extensively though the political fear from them has made sure authorities across Britain can also try to stop the public from prying into things they are paying for ... You know services ...

The fees that can be attached to FOIA requests are large for ordinary people to bear although they don't kick in if the requests are simple . It is clear that training is being given for authorities to deal with FOIA requests and the Dept of Constitutional Affairs is the advisory peak of the white snowy bureaucratic mountain with the wonderful diamond on top of it called "Fair Dealing Summit" ......Oh yeah .......Most of us will need oxygen to get there ..

Go and have a study HERE (free yawns included) and feel free to be amazed in this digital age of mass internet communication and freedom which the politicians , the services , even parts of the media, would love to translate as putting us all back into the cosy offline days where we and the images within our minds are managed .......State-opolistically and jointly by them ..

Maybe the end of the "State" is a-coming with the internet, and the age of individual is partly here and that begs new systems which the Offline State wants to feed back into itself .. Watch the tension ...

Finally as result of various FOIA requests UserWatch is aware that one of its sources has contacted the Audit Commssion. The matter we understand is an issue about wasted money on a mental health initiative. So sometimes the UserWatch free-thinkers are not just taking the piss . They mean business ....

We hope there's a cartoon coming soon out of this ..... We hate advertising Govt ..

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2 comments:

A Lewisham Voter said...

Bridget Prentice MP, Lewisham West was the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs before her role recently morphed into the scarier 'Minister for Justice'.

Ms Prentice has the ' best' record in Parliament for blindly supporting her party , she is against transparency of Parliament but very strongly for anti-terrorism laws and the war in Iraq. She is also fiercely opposed to any formal investigations of the causes and consequences of the war in Iraq and her attitude to anti-war protestors in the run up to the Iraq waru was ' Trust us, We are Politicians'.

Ms Prentice is simply not fit to be entrusted with constitutional matters and history will reveal just how unfit and the utter contempt she has shown for ordinary citizens and the victims of the war in Iraq.

Bridget likes Foxes though. No doubt because she feels an affinity for them at some deep level...

This is fair comment.

Anonymous said...

I guess what we have in the UK is a managerial democracy where we are considered to be obstacles unless we are compliant. But I looked at the links and see its all couched in "reasonable style".

It would not surprise me if authorities deliberately set about not committing information to easy digital capture to make sure some requests would reach the "fee barrier" and thus put the public off from knowing just how much real chaos in happening and which they are paying for ..


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