13 May 2009

Is Transparency Coming Out into the Open?

Maybe something good can come out of the unholy mess of the MPs' expenses:

Mr Brown said that politicians had to "prove themselves worthy of the public trust" and said the allowances system must be reconstructed to ensure transparency.

At the first Prime Minister's Questions since the expenses scandal broke, he gave his support to a proposal from David Cameron for all future claims to be posted on the internet by the Fees Office.

Now, that would be be truly wonderful, because it would not only solve most of the problems associated with the expenses, but it would provide a beachhead of transparency that people - we - can build on for the future.

And if that sounds hopelessly optimistic, here's another extraordinary straw in the wind:

Minister of Justice Michael Wills has told ZDNet UK that the UK's Freedom of Information Act is to be extended. Currently requests under the act can only be made to public bodies, but Wills said that the government had been considering modifying it to allow requests to private companies working in the public sector.

"We are going to announce the result soon. There is going to be an extension", he told our reporter Tom Espiner at the Private Data, Open Government conference today in London.

Keep those transparent fingers crossed.

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