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Four new bodies to come under FoI Act's remit

Four more bodies will now come under the remit of the Freedom of Information Act.

Following a consultation started last summer, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed that the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service and Academy Trusts – the bodies responsible for Academy Schools – will be part of the Act.

Justice minister Michael Wills said: “Since we introduced the Freedom of Information Act there has been a major and welcome increase in the amount of information that the public have access to.

“This has transformed our politics, making government and other public organisations far more open and transparent, and answerable to UK citizens.

“The organisations we will add to the Act make key decisions which affect the lives of millions of people across the country. It is only right that they are also subject to the FoI Act and the additional accountability it brings to decision-making.”

The changes are expected to come into force in October next year which allows time for the quartet to prepare for their inclusion in the Act such as establishing processes to deal with requests for information.

The relevant order will be laid as soon as practicable in the next parliamentary session and is subject to debate in both Houses of Parliament.

The government says it is also considering extending the FoI Act further still to include more bodies and will continue its discussions with Network Rail and utility companies.