Companion to the Standing Orders and guide to the Proceedings of the House of Lords


12.22  The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives a general right of access to information held by public authorities, sets out exemptions from that right and places a number of obligations on public authorities. The House of Lords is a separate public authority under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and therefore has a separate scheme and arrangements for implementing and complying with the Act. The Clerk of the Parliaments has entrusted day-to-day responsibility for House of Lords' arrangements to the Freedom of Information Officer. The Act requires every public authority to maintain a publication scheme setting out the classes of information which it publishes or intends to publish, the form in which it intends to publish the information, and details of any charges. The initial House of Lords' publication scheme was approved by the Information Commissioner and was laid before the House by the Clerk of the Parliaments in November 2002.

12.23  The Clerk of the Parliaments as the authorised officer of the House may refuse to disclose information on the ground of either parliamentary privilege (section 34) or prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs (section 36). A certificate signed by him is conclusive of the fact, and a dissatisfied applicant has no right of appeal to the Information Commissioner. Where the Clerk of the Parliaments is minded to refuse to disclose information he refers the matter to a panel for advice. The panel, appointed by the House Committee, comprises one member from each of the three main parties and a Crossbencher, and is chaired by the Chairman of Committees.[510]

510   House 2nd Rpt 2003-04. Back

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