HL Deb 04 May 2000 vol 612 cc189-90WA
Lord Campbell of Alloway

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How the Freedom of Information Bill will apply to the internal papers of the Committee on Standards in Public Life; and, if all evidence submitted to its study on standards of conduct in the House of Lords will be published. [HL2235]

Lord Bassam of Brighton

The Committee on Standards in Public Life will be covered by the Freedom of Information Bill. The right of access will apply to all information held by the committee, subject to the conditions and exemptions set out in the Bill.

Exemptions that may be relevant to the work of the committee include:

the exemption relating to personal information whose disclosure would contravene the data protection principles set out in the Data Protection Act 1998 (clause 38 of the Freedom of Information Bill); and

the exemption relating to information provided in confidence (clause 39).

All requests under the Freedom of Information Bill will, however, be assessed on a case by case basis.

The Freedom of Information Bill also requires authorities to adopt a scheme for publication which must be approved by the Information Commissioner (Clause 17). Such schemes detail the sort of information the body will publish proactively.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life, in accordance with its usual practice, will publish all evidence submitted to the committee in relation to its current enquiry into the House of Lords except information which has been supplied in confidence or which is considered to be defamatory. The evidence will be published at the same time as the committee's report on the House of Lords later this year.