Thursday, December 05, 2013

Transparency on Cabinet conflicts of interest

Back in 2010, I tried to get some information out of the Cabinet Office about Cabinet conflicts of interest. They refused, I appealed to the Ombudsman, and last year they were forced to release some information. In the ruling recommending release, the Ombudsman also recommended regular proactive disclosure of information on conflicts on interest. And now, almost a year later, the Cabinet Office has finally obeyed, releasing information for the past year [PDF]. However, as it notes, this is not a complete disclosure:

The table only includes new arrangements put in place in the period 1 October 2012 to 30 September 2013, and is not a full summary of all transfers of responsibility and arrangements not to receive papers that have been made or are currently in place.

Older arrangements from 2009 - 2010 are available here [PDF], and I currently have an OIA in to fill in the gap.

The information will be released annually. Hopefully that will be enough to allow proper monitoring by the media.

(Meanwhile, for a "proactive" release, this wasn't very proactive. It was released on dump day (under cover of the John Banks and red zone court decisions / Rena inquiries / PISA report), there appears to have been no press release, and I only found it because I knew that it was coming and bothered to look for it. You'd almost think the Cabinet Office didn't really want anyone to notice...)