Amendments proposed to the Freedom of Information Bill - continued House of Commons

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Mr Robert Maclennan
Mr David Heath

153

Clause     39,     page     22,     line     12,     at end insert—

    '(1A) Information is not exempt under this section unless the authority has sought the consent of the person from whom it was obtained to communicate the information in response to a request under this Act and that consent has been refused.

    (1B) Subsection (1A) does not apply if, within the previous 12 months, the consent of that person was sought and was refused in relation to the same information.'.

   

Mr Robert Maclennan
Mr David Heath

154

Clause     39,     page     22,     line     12,     at end insert—

    '(1A) Information is not exempt under this section if an obligation of confidentiality has been entered into after the commencement of this Act in circumstances in which the code of practice under section 44 provides that to enter into such an obligation would be inappropriate'.

   

Mr Ian Cawsey

158

Clause     39,     page     22,     line     12,     at end insert—

    '(1A) In relation to information obtained after section 1 comes into force, no actionable breach of confidence can be committed within the meaning of subsection (1) above unless, prior to receiving the information, the public authority holding it confirmed in writing to the person who subsequently gave it that it was willing to receive it in confidence.

    (1B) A public authority shall not give the confirmation referred to in subsection (1A) above unless it requires the information in order properly to discharge its functions and believes on reasonable grounds that the person concerned will not give it unless he receives the confirmation'.


   

Mr Robert Maclennan
Mr David Heath

155

Clause     41,     page     22,     line     25,     leave out subsection (2) and insert—

    '(2) Information is exempt information if it is information—

      (a) which the person from whom it was obtained consistently treats as confidential, and

      (b) the disclosure of which would cause significant financial loss to that person.

    (2A) Information is exempt information if it is information which relates to the financial affairs of the public authority which holds it, and—

      (a) that authority consistently treats it as confidential, and

      (b) its disclosure would cause significant financial loss to the authority.'.

   

Miss Ann Widdecombe
Mr David Lidington
Mr John Greenway

140

Clause     41,     page     22,     line     30,     at end insert—

    '(4) In this section 'trade secret' means any confidential trade information which if disclosed to a competitor would cause harm to its owner'.


   

Miss Ann Widdecombe
Mr David Lidington
Mr John Greenway

141

Clause     43,     page     23,     line     1,     leave out subsection (2).

   

Mr Mark Fisher

152

Clause     43,     page     23,     line     5,     at end insert—

    '(2A) The Secretary of State may by order provide that—

      (a) information of such description as may be specified in the order is not exempt by virtue of this Act or by virtue of any provision of this Act as may be specified in the order.

      (b) any provision of this Act by virtue of which information may be exempt shall be repealed or shall apply only in relation to information of the description specified in the order;

      (c) any provision of this Act by virtue of which the duty to confirm or deny does not arise shall be repealed or shall apply only in relation to such information as may be specified in the order.'.

   

Miss Ann Widdecombe
Mr David Lidington
Mr John Greenway

142

Clause     43,     page     23,     line     6,     leave out 'or (2)'.

   

Miss Ann Widdecombe
Mr David Lidington
Mr John Greenway

143

Clause     43,     page     23,     line     13,     leave out 'or (2)'.

   

Miss Ann Widdecombe
Mr David Lidington
Mr John Greenway

145

Clause     43,     page     23,     line     20,     leave out subsection (5).

   

Miss Ann Widdecombe
Mr David Lidington
Mr John Greenway

144

Clause     43,     page     23,     line     26,     leave out 'or (2)'.

   

Mr Robert Maclennan
Mr David Heath

156

Clause     43,     page     23,     line     27,     at end add ', and shall publish any representations made to him by the Commissioner.'.

   

Miss Ann Widdecombe
Mr David Lidington
Mr John Greenway

146

Page     22,     line     39,     leave out Clause 43.


   

Mr Robert Maclennan
Mr David Heath

157

Clause     44,     page     23,     line     45,     leave out 'and' and insert—

      '(dd) the circumstances in which it is not appropriate for a public authority to accept information from another person in confidence, and'.

   

Mr Robert Maclennan
Mr David Heath

72

Clause     44,     page     24,     line     5,     at end insert 'and any other relevant person.'.


   

Mr Robert Maclennan
Mr David Heath

73

Clause     45,     page     24,     line     31,     leave out 'and'.

   

Mr Robert Maclennan
Mr David Heath

74

Clause     45,     page     24,     line     33,     at end insert ', and

      (d) any other relevant person.'.


   

Miss Ann Widdecombe
Mr David Lidington
Mr John Greenway

5

Clause     50,     page     26,     line     30,     at end insert—

    '(1A) The complainant may also apply to the Commissioner for a decision in cases where a public authority has not complied with a discretionary disclosure recommendation given under section 48.'.

   

Mr Mark Fisher

61

Clause     50,     page     27,     line     19,     leave out subsection (7).

   

Miss Ann Widdecombe
Mr David Lidington
Mr John Greenway

6

Clause     50,     page     27,     line     20,     leave out 'not'.

   

Miss Ann Widdecombe
Mr David Lidington
Mr John Greenway

7

Clause     50,     page     27,     line     22,     leave out from 'information' to end of line 26.


   

Mr Mark Fisher

62

Clause     52,     page     28,     line     23,     leave out subsection (2).

   

Miss Ann Widdecombe
Mr David Lidington
Mr John Greenway

8

Clause     52,     page     28,     line     30,     leave out 'not'.

   

Miss Ann Widdecombe
Mr David Lidington
Mr John Greenway

9

Clause     52,     page     28,     line     32,     leave out from 'information' to end of line 36.


   

Mr Robert Maclennan
Mr David Heath

77

Clause     73,     page     36,     line     10,     leave out 'may' and insert 'shall'.


   

Mr Robert Maclennan
Mr David Heath

78

Clause     81,     page     38,     line     27,     after second '(2)', insert ', 73'.


   

Mr Mark Fisher

63

Clause     82,     page     39,     line     28,     at end insert—

    '"prejudice" means prejudice which is actual, real and of substance'.


NEW CLAUSES

Appeal against decision not to make discretionary disclosure

   

Miss Ann Widdecombe
Mr David Lidington
Mr John Greenway

NC1

To move the following Clause:—

    '.—(1) Where a public authority has decided under section 13 not to inform an applicant that it holds information or not to communicate information to him and the authority has not complied with a discretionary disclosure recommendation under section 48, a decision notice under section 50(7), or an enforcement notice under section 50(2), the applicant may appeal to the Tribunal.

    (2) On such an appeal the Tribunal may review the public authority's exercise of its discretion under section 13 and may order the public authority to communicate or release the information to the applicant if it finds that the public authority has failed to exercise its discretion in accordance with the provisions of that section.'.


Purposes

   

Mr Robert Maclennan
Mr David Heath

NC2

To move the following Clause:—

    '.—(1) The purposes of this Act are to extend progressively the right of the public to information held by public authorities to the maximum extent possible, consistent with the need to protect interests specified in exemptions, so as to promote—

      (a) the accountability of public authorities;

      (b) informed public debate on public affairs;

      (c) public participation in the making of decisions; and

      (d) public understanding of the powers, duties and operation of public authorities.

    (2) This Act shall be interpreted so as to further the purposes specified in subsection (1) and to encourage the disclosure of information, promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost.'.


Official secrets

   

Mr Robert Maclennan
Mr David Heath

NC3

To move the following Clause:—

    '.—After section 1 of the Official Secrets Act 1989 there shall be inserted—

    "—(1A).—(1) It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under this Act to prove that the disclosure or retention of the information or article was in the public interest in that he had reasonable cause to believe that it indicated the existence of crime, fraud, abuse of authority, neglect in the performance of official duty or other misconduct.

    (2) It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under this Act to prove that the disclosure of the information or other article for which he has been charged was in the public interest, having regard both to any damage actually caused by the disclosure and any benefit to the public interest from it; or that he had reasonable cause to believe at the time of the disclosure that it was so in the public interest.

    (3) In the case of a Crown servant or government contractor charged with an offence under sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 or 8 of this Act subsections (1) or (2) above shall only apply if he has taken reasonable steps to comply with any established procedures for drawing such misconduct to the attention of the appropriate authorities without effect.".'.


 
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Prepared 27 Jan 2000