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Opening the Cabinet Door: FOI and government policy making

Hazell, R; Busfield-Burch, D; (2011) Opening the Cabinet Door: FOI and government policy making. Public Law (2) pp. 260-283.

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This article is a comparative study of the freedom of information regimes in the UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand, looking in particular at the access granted to Cabinet papers and policy documents. It starts by tracing the development of freedom of information across the five jurisdictions. It then assesses the UK framework against the other jurisdictions, in particular the exemptions for Cabinet records and internal working documents and policy papers. It analyses the leading UK Information Commissioner decisions about these exemptions from 2006. It finds no evidence that FOI regimes have caused a deterioration in the quality of official advice and ministerial deliberation because of fears of disclosure. It also finds the UK regime relatively open compared to other countries, coming second only to New Zealand in providing access to Cabinet papers and policy documents, and ahead of Australia, Canada and Ireland.

Type: Article
Title: Opening the Cabinet Door: FOI and government policy making
Location: UK
Keywords: freedom of information, policy
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/113758
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