Something to hide????

#1
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4119823.stm

Makes me wonder what they have to hide :? :?


Whitehall 'shredding more files'

Government departments say they are following rules on public records
Civil servants have drastically stepped up the shredding of official documents, figures compiled by the Tories suggest.
Some government departments had doubled the number of documents being shredded ahead of the Freedom of Information Act's implementation on 1 January.

Departments for defence, environment and trade, which had all increased file destruction, said they were following rules governing public records.

But the Tories want the information commissioner to investigate.

The Freedom of Information Act will for the first time give members of the public access to government records previously kept secret for 30 years.

But BBC Political Correspondent James Hardy said the prospect of outsiders poking their noses into the inner workings of Whitehall appeared to be causing jitters among the mandarins.

THE NEW ACT
The public authority must say if it has information requested
If it does, applicants have the right to be told that information
All requests must be in writing
Authority must respond within 20 working days
Authorities have right to charge for providing information


Your right to know

From a series of parliamentary answers Dr Julian Lewis, the Conservative spokesman for the Cabinet Office, says he has discovered a huge acceleration in shredding.

The Department of Work and Pensions destroyed nearly 37,000 files last year - up 22,000 on four years ago when the Act was passed.

The number of files destroyed by the Ministry of Defence and the departments of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Trade and Industry has also risen dramatically.

Dr Lewis has called for an investigation by the information commissioner Richard Thomas.

Earlier this week, Mr Thomas said he was looking into Cabinet Office orders telling staff to delete e-mails more than three months old.

He said he "totally condemned" the deletion of e-mails to prevent their disclosure under freedom of information laws coming into force on 1 January.

Government guidance said e-mails should only be deleted if they served "no current purpose", Mr Thomas said.

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said the move was not about the new laws or "the destruction of important records".


The Freedom of Information Act will cover England, Wales and Northern Ireland from next year. Similar measures are being brought in at the same time in Scotland.

It provides the public with a right of access to information held by about 100,000 public bodies, subject to various exemptions.
[/quote]
 
#2
One thing we have learnt from bitter experience, we have to watch that shower of dross in No 10 like a hawk. :evil:
 
#5
dui-lai said:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4119823.stm

Makes me wonder what they have to hide :? :?


Whitehall 'shredding more files'

Government departments say they are following rules on public records
Civil servants have drastically stepped up the shredding of official documents, figures compiled by the Tories suggest.
Some government departments had doubled the number of documents being shredded ahead of the Freedom of Information Act's implementation on 1 January.

Departments for defence, environment and trade, which had all increased file destruction, said they were following rules governing public records.

But the Tories want the information commissioner to investigate.

The Freedom of Information Act will for the first time give members of the public access to government records previously kept secret for 30 years.

But BBC Political Correspondent James Hardy said the prospect of outsiders poking their noses into the inner workings of Whitehall appeared to be causing jitters among the mandarins.

THE NEW ACT
The public authority must say if it has information requested
If it does, applicants have the right to be told that information
All requests must be in writing
Authority must respond within 20 working days
Authorities have right to charge for providing information


Your right to know

From a series of parliamentary answers Dr Julian Lewis, the Conservative spokesman for the Cabinet Office, says he has discovered a huge acceleration in shredding.

The Department of Work and Pensions destroyed nearly 37,000 files last year - up 22,000 on four years ago when the Act was passed.

The number of files destroyed by the Ministry of Defence and the departments of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Trade and Industry has also risen dramatically.

Dr Lewis has called for an investigation by the information commissioner Richard Thomas.

Earlier this week, Mr Thomas said he was looking into Cabinet Office orders telling staff to delete e-mails more than three months old.

He said he "totally condemned" the deletion of e-mails to prevent their disclosure under freedom of information laws coming into force on 1 January.

Government guidance said e-mails should only be deleted if they served "no current purpose", Mr Thomas said.

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said the move was not about the new laws or "the destruction of important records".


The Freedom of Information Act will cover England, Wales and Northern Ireland from next year. Similar measures are being brought in at the same time in Scotland.

It provides the public with a right of access to information held by about 100,000 public bodies, subject to various exemptions.
This blows and sucks at the same time. Can't speak for all GDs, but the increase in shredding just maybe down to many directorates moving to premises where physical storage is not so spacious. New premises will probably means new and various IT systems to cope with different variations or classification of work - therefore virtual space could also be limited?

With a few brown nosers in the civil service, I can't see them wanting to give info that will get the department in the sh1t without a valid excuse to fall back on. I wonder how these PQs were worded, and if it is a case of the Tories taking something out of context, or if this is people going FOI loopy.
 
#6
If the material is worth hiding it will be classified and therefore on a register of protectively marked material. There will be destruction certificates and therefore an audit trail. And if any of these latter have been destroyed (they have a far longer lifespan than the files detailed within) then this is firm evidence of suppression of information.

Investigate on, o information commissioner!
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#7
Well THIS Department certainly isn't shredding stuff - that is a big no-no, and anyway we wouldn't do it - the Civil Sevice can't function without accurate records :) .

We are all ready and set for the FOI Act in Jan, if the software works OK by then.... However, a lot of Files were stored in a basement that has been heavily contaminated by Asbestos. A recent Hansard exchange:

"Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what effect asbestos contamination of his Department's files will have on access to those files under the Freedom of Information Act 2000."

"Mr. Caplin: The information contained in the files previously stored in an asbestos contaminated basement has been safeguarded. A project board has been set up to formalise the consideration of the options open to the Ministry of Defence whereby this information may be made accessible for both departmental use, to enable the Ministry of Defence to respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act and to allow the normal transfer of records to the National Archives.

However, in view of the nature of the hazard posed to those who are likely to come into contact with the files, there must be a strict health and safety regime in place. In the circumstances, requests for information from files affected will be temporarily deferred until a fully operational facility is in place for their safe handling. "

So that's all right then :D
 
#8
It's all politically motivated horse-sh~t. The Data Protection Act already states that info over 12 months old, unless it's 'active' - i.e. being used for an on-going case (e.g. a benefits claim), is not allowed to be kept. Most of teh civil service uses a private contractor for records storage, and they have a massive backlog of old files to 'weed' of old info and then shred. The upscaling of the destruction of info is just to comply with the Act in a quicker timescale. It's also to do with the restructuring (thanks, Gordon) and using that as an opportunity to destroy info, especially in several departments that are also moving to using a contractor to manage the storage.
The emails thing is to preserve server space as most people are well above their predicted 'profile' capacity.
Yes, you've sussed out what I do for a living (shoot me now...)

End of thread?
 

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