HC Deb 07 July 2004 vol 423 c829
9. Mr. Jon Owen Jones (Cardiff, Central) (Lab)

What discussions he has had with National Assembly for Wales Ministers about the implications for local authorities in Wales of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, concerning the publication of performance data. [181921]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Don Touhig)

My right hon. Friend and I have regular discussions with Assembly Ministers on a range of matters. Local authorities in Wales are subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. However, they are already required to publish information annually on their performance in accordance with an order made by the National Assembly for Wales under the Local Government Act 1999.

Mr. Jones

But the data that are published are far less full than the performance data that are published in Scotland and in England. Does my hon. Friend agree that a healthy democracy is a well-informed one? Is it not regrettable that the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is needed to extract information so that the public can judge how their local authorities perform?

Mr. Touhig

My hon. Friend raised that matter directly with the First Minister recently at a meeting that I also attended. It is of course for the Assembly to determine the indicators to be measured by Welsh local authorities, and those indicators take account of the Assembly's priorities for improving the performance of local government in Wales. It is for the Audit Commission to decide how their reports should reflect local authority performance in Wales. I understand that it has done that in consultation with the Assembly and local government.

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