Author Topic: Freedom of information laws - to expensive to implement?  (Read 4980 times)

Offline Dundee

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Re: Freedom of information laws - to expensive to implement?
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2011, 06:04:46 AM »
 If the commercial interest is exploiting a public resource then the public surely has a right to know about the management of the public resource you would think. To this end it is interesting to note the Aarhus convention was mentioned in several States documents that they were working towards it then Privileges and procedures reviewed it and said it was to costly etc and scrapped it with no one else being able to comment or have a say in the matter.

Offline Dundee

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Re: Freedom of information laws - to expensive to implement?
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2011, 06:06:28 PM »
By coincidence I have just received a very pleasant e mail from Constable Gallichan explaining the situation and the law should be on the States agenda this year.

Offline man in the street

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Re: Freedom of information laws - to expensive to implement?
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2011, 10:19:00 PM »
ah well dundee, it may take till december then.

Offline Dundee

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Re: Freedom of information laws - to expensive to implement?
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2011, 05:05:06 PM »
I should imagine the plan is to introduce it so as it has no impact on the Autumn elections but perhaps just before, so current sitting members will flag up how open and transparent they have been and implemented such a long overdue law.

Having recently had some meetings with Civil servants I flagged the issue up and was asked what I wanted to know and I suggested some minutes of a panel to which they said there was no issue, yet I still not have seen them. In a follow up meeting I raised a number of concerns on information all of which I was denied because I was not part of the panels in question even though I have asked to be a member of the panel they refuse to allow me to sit on it!

One issue was a public consultation that they have buried then come back asking for stake holder involvement, err are not the public a stakeholder?

The reason is the civil servants select a "do nothing" agenda other than navel gazing and become expert in passing round the issue as is so common with modern day life, and no one appears to be accountable any more.


Offline verystandrew

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Re: Freedom of information laws - to expensive to implement?
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2011, 05:14:50 PM »
Freedom of information is probably the greatest fear of a government that enjoys a culture of concealment.

Whatever happens, there'll be caveats, clauses, loopholes, excuses or absences.

The States of Jersey serves itself, no-one else.

VStA



"Of all God's creatures there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the leash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with a cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat." Mark Twain

rogueelement

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Re: Freedom of information laws - to expensive to implement?
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2011, 11:01:12 PM »
Well Vst A i,m not sure if that is correct.
I believe we have a useless bunch of tossers who think they are helping , but in actual fact are not. It is because they are sterling chaps, opinionated, consider themselves intelligent and want to "serve" that makes the whole damn thing so interesting. I agree there are at least a dozen self serving muppets in the States , but unfortunately the rest think they are doing us , poor uninformed peasants a favour. I seriously wish they would not.

Offline boatyboy

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Re: Freedom of information laws - to expensive to implement?
« Reply #21 on: September 09, 2014, 03:02:40 PM »

The latest news ( actually already known by States members ) is that the Freedom of Information Law is to " exclude " all those offshoots that do Government work but cannot be questioned by states members or the public. They include of course the SoJ Development Company, Tourism, Jersey Finance, Jersey Telecomms in fact all that are not established Government departments but parked in quango's. If one adds to the list secret data protection trial, then there is something wrong in my opinion with the way the  Jersey Government has put up walls to keep information away from the public. Worth remembering at election time, is not the proof in the eating reading or what they are doing. Not with the present council of ministers it appears. Well done again Deputy Mike Higgins for bringing the issue to islanders attention.

Jersey has a reputation for being secretive, why if you have nothing to hide ?

BBC Jersey

Jersey's new Freedom of Information (FoI) law will not cover companies owned by the States.

The former housing department, now Andium Homes, telecom provider JT Global, and Jersey Post are among those not legally required to comply with information requests.

The Ports of Jersey, if its bid to become a company succeeds, will also then fall outside the Act.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-jersey-29058489

bb

Offline Jerry Gosselin

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Re: Freedom of information laws
« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2014, 05:10:36 AM »
When this draft law was adopted by the States on 3rd May 2011, nobody could foresee that just three years later, the control of States Housing and the fate of all its tenants would have been transferred into the hands of a private company (Andium Homes) run by overpaid political cronies. I regard that decision (to create Andium Homes) as a disgrace. This is the administration of public housing we are talking about, which sets it apart from the activities of other companies like the utilities, with which I am less concerned overall. Andium should have been included in the Schedule 1 FOI list from day one of the new law. The final debate on this is probably a fait accompli already, because any attempt to add Andium Homes or other entities at this very late stage will no doubt come up against the COM argument that Andium and the others haven't been given sufficient notice and would therefore need much longer to prepare for the introduction of the FOI. How much of Housing policy does Andium control? For example, who deals with things like the States rental waiting list- Andium or a States Department? Does anybody know?

The FOI proposition (P.39/2011) that was adopted in 2011 ran to an enormous 166 pages. On page 19, it says (quoting an earlier 2005 proposition) "The Law would not apply to States-aided independent bodies" but doesn't specifically define which bodies this refers to. At paragraph 3.4 on the same page, it says:

Quote
The Committee is satisfied that it is not generally necessary to include States aided independent bodies, as these may be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General,. However, the Committee has decided to have an enabling power in the Law so that it is possible to cover them at some point in the future. This would require a policy on access to information from States-aided independent bodies, and communication with them so that they are aware that they may be included at a future date. The Committee wished to make it possible, where a body is in receipt of funding, at least half of which is from the States in one or more years, and which carries out statutory functions, or which appears to exercise functions or carry out a contract service of a public nature, for them to be covered by the Law. However, the Law will not apply to them, until they are added to the Schedule 1 by Regulation. There is no immediate plan to do this, but the Law is drafted so as to allow this to happen in the future without amendment to the primary Law.

Yet earlier at 3.2, it says:

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The Law provides that a body corporate or a corporation sole established by the States by an enactment will be covered by the Law, although not necessarily immediately.

Confusing or what?  ???

http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/AssemblyPropositions/2011/13704-37486-1532011.pdf

There are an awful lot of bodies in Jersey that receive funding from the States in one form or another. How much does Jersey Opera House and Jersey Arts Trust get? Even Durrell Zoo gets millions in soft loans. Then there is the Overseas Aid Commission- that is entirely taxpayer-funded and in recent years they have been involved in overtly political decisions to exclude certain charities like Christian Aid from receiving grants if they have dared to criticise Jersey's status as an offshore finance centre.

It has taken 10 years and I believe more than two dozen different drafts just to reach this stage, so my concern is that the States won't get around to adding more of these bodies to the FOI law for another decade or more.

The parishes have conveniently been excluded too, even though their position as public authorities gives them access to very private information about every islander (if they request it) from the so-called 'Big Brother database' - officially called the Register of Names and Addresses, which was set up in tandem with the new Housing and Work Laws (in force since 2013). The information held on that register about every islander includes their name and residential address, date and place of birth, date of arrival in Jersey (if applicable), their gender and their Social Security number. So the parishes can access that but we can't access anything about them until maybe in the year 2025 (if we're lucky) the States finally gets around to including them in the FOI Law too.  >:( 

http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/Pages/Hansard.aspx?docid=907c3fbd6e93be15141830030329a8d1_StatesAssembly#_Toc292892817
« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 05:44:56 AM by Jerry Gosselin »