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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Information overload

I have now been waiting five months for a substantive response to a simple freedom of information request to the Wales Office asking for details of government surveys of Swansea Guildhall back in 1998, when it was being considered as the home of the National Assembly for Wales.

If Lord Falconer were to get his way however, I could well find myself having to pay for this unbelievable inaction. I say unbelievable because despite devolution taking powers and responsibility off it the Wales Office has increased its staff by 50% - from 36 to 55 - inside five years and is still growing. Despite this there is still no single staff member with responsibility for dealing with freedom of information requests.

There is no doubt that introducing a fee may well reduce the number of enquiries and weed out some of the more whimsical requests, but if the objective is to save the blushes of government bodies then on balance it would seem to be a bad thing. Having unleashed the genie Government should not be allowed to hide behind a tariff to benefit from his services.
It's a drag isn't it?
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