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While we await a ministerial decision on the implementation timetable ...
While we await a ministerial decision on the implementation timetable

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.

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