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    The sword and the shield: the use of FOI by parliamentarians and the impact of FOI on parliament

    Worthy, Benjamin and Bourke, G. (2011) The sword and the shield: the use of FOI by parliamentarians and the impact of FOI on parliament. Technical Report. Constitution Unit, UCL, London, UK.

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    The UK Parliament was made subject to FOI in January 2005, with the Act covering both houses in terms of their administrative work. Parliament is the oldest institution to be covered by the Act, and one that presents significant problems. Parliament’s historic protections against outside interference, its strong internal culture and particular governance arrangements make for some unique difficulties for a law allowing access to information. The UK Parliament was also the centre of a large FOI scandal in May 2009 when FOI requests, combined with a leak, created a scandal about MPs’ uses, and abuses, of their parliamentary expenses. This led to the creation of an outside agency regulating members’ expenses and caused political reverberations that continue to this day. FOI’s arrival, however, could also be an opportunity for parliamentarians. With FOI, members of Parliament have a potential new weapon to hold the government to account, that has a potentially further and deeper reach than other accountability mechanisms. This report presents the work of a two-year project into the impact of the FOI Act on the UK Parliament. The research project asked two questions: 1. How has FOI impacted upon Parliament? 2. How have MPs and peers used FOI?


    Item Type: Monograph (Technical Report)
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Birkbeck Centre for British Political Life
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2013 10:28
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:08


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