Jon Baines, Senior Data Protection Specialist, is one of the signatories of an open letter to John Edwards, who took up his post as the new Information Commissioner earlier this year. Other signatories include senior editors at The Guardian, The Financial Times, the Daily Mirror and Private Eye, MPs from both main parties and a number of high profile journalists and campaigners.
The letter expresses the concern of the signatories that current regulatory approach to Freedom of Information is "clearly not working" and calls on the new Commissioner to adopt fresh thinking and bold action to deliver Freedom of Information transparency in the public interest.
In response, the Commissioner has acknowledged that FOI plays an "important part in civic engagement and holding public services to account". He has said that he recognises the concern around timely access to information and that addressing this is a priority for him.
Commenting on the correspondence, Jon says "It is encouraging to see that John Edwards will be making it a priority to address the state of FOI compliance in some areas of government and the wider public sector. For too long FOI has not been given sufficient attention, and the confirmation that things should be improving is to be greatly welcomed."