HL Deb 28 March 2000 vol 611 cc61-2WA
The Earl of Northesk

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In the light of their policies for freedom of information, what their response is to the recent survey by the Society of Editors that reveals that an increasing number of new "cabinet" governments at local authority level are not allowing the public or press to witness their deliberations. [HL1594]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty)

Ministers have not seen the survey by the Society of Editors. The arrangements we are proposing under Part II of the Local Government Bill would enhance efficiency and ensure more transparent and inclusive decision-making. Experiments which local authorities are carrying out are within the existing statutory framework that was not designed for executive arrangements. In some cases, these experiments do not yet match up to what the Bill, if enacted, will require.