HL Deb 18 June 1999 vol 602 c57WA
Lord Lester of Herne Hill

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will include in the Freedom of Information Bill a general requirement for public authorities to publish reasons for administrative decisions to those affected by them (as envisaged by the Government's White Paper, Your Right to Know, Cm 3818, December 1997, paragraph 2.18). [HL2901]

Lord Williams of Mostyn

The draft Freedom of Information Bill was published on 24 May (Cm 4355). The Bill does not place public authorities under an obligation to publish the reasons for their administrative decisions to the particular person/persons affected by those decisions. The circumstances in which public authorities come under such a duty will continue to be governed by the developing administrative law jurisprudence. However, Clause 6 of the draft Bill places a duty on every public authority to adopt and maintain a scheme which relates to the publication of information by the authority.

In adopting or reviewing a publication scheme, a public authority is required to have regard to the public interest in the publication of reasons for decisions made by the authority. Public authorities will therefore be expected to publish appropriate information about the reasons for their administrative decisions in accordance with the publication scheme. The Commissioner must approve, and promote compliance with, the scheme.