for the Freedom of Information Act 2000, much preparatory work is
being done. The information commissioner yesterday confirmed that work
involving the first pilot publication schemes was well underway.
Those organisations invited by the information commissioner to
develop pilot publication schemes as part of preparations for the
implementation of the Freedom of Information Act have begun to
publish their work. This week the Public Records Office will publish
their pilot scheme, while the Medicines Control Agency scheme is
already available on their website, and the department for
international development's scheme will be available from November
Some key interest groups have already been approached for their
comments. Now the information commissioner, Elizabeth France, would
like comments from anyone else with an interest in accessing
information from these organisations:
'The pilot schemes will inform future work. In particular, they
provide a practical way for interested parties to try-out the
schemes. They can then help us by providing informed comment on their
value and design. Feedback will be used both by the pilot
organisations and my office in developing guidance for other public
1. The information commissioner has dual responsibility for data
protection and freedom of information issues. Both laws concern
access to information, and both require high standards of records
management. Once the Freedom of Information Act has been implemented,
all public authorities will have a responsibility to adopt and
operate a publication scheme that routinely makes information
available to the public.
2. Other participants in the pilot scheme are continuing to develop
their schemes and will be working closely with the information
commissioner's office over the coming months with publication
expected before the end of the year.
3. Contact details for the commissioner's FOI team are available on
each pilot scheme so users can make comments.
4. The Public Record Office's website is here.
5. The Information Commissioner's Office website is here.
6. The Information Commissioner will publish advice and guidance on
the Freedom of Information Act on her website as and when it becomes
available. Initial advice on the Act is available under the guidance
and other publications section of the website.