Chapter

Dashed Expectations: Governmental Adaptation to Transparency Rules

Alasdair Roberts

in Transparency: The Key to Better Governance?

Published by British Academy

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780197263839
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734915 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197263839.003.0007

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Dashed Expectations: Governmental Adaptation to Transparency Rules

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In January 2005, the United Kingdom's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) came into force, providing British citizens with a limited but justiciable right to government information. The Blair government promised that the new law would make two important contributions to British political life. The first would be a fundamental change in the predispositions of officials regarding the release of government information. Lord Chancellor Charles Falconer predicted that the FOIA would lead to ‘a new culture of openness: a change in the way we are governed’. This fundamental ‘change in the way we are governed’ was expected to produce a follow-on effect: the restoration of public trust in government. The linkage between a ‘vigorous commitment to freedom of information’ and the ‘renewal of trust’ was often made in the months before implementation of the law. The critical point is that the FOIA does not reduce the political salience of complaints about governmental secrecy and lack of transparency in the public sector.

Keywords: United Kingdom; Freedom of Information; government information; openness; secrecy; trust; freedom of information; transparency

Chapter.  7286 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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