The Information Commissioner says the government's refusal to publish the full risk assessment of the planned changes to the NHS is both unjustified and departs from established policy.
Information Commissioner Christopher Graham has made a strong protest about the Cabinet’s recent exercising of its veto to stop a sensitive document on the risks around changes to the NHS ever being published.
He has gone so far in his official response* to the move as to call it “unjustified” and that it “departs from policy”.
He also disagrees with the Coalition’s claim that its use of the veto – only the fourth ever - was OK as this was an “exceptional” case. For him, that term only really applies in cases where release of the information would “damage Cabinet government” and/or “the constitutional doctrine of collective responsibility”.
The report said the commissioner wished "to record his concern that the exercise of the veto in this case extends its use into other areas of the policy process… It represents a departure from the position adopted in the Statement of Policy and therefore marks a significant step in the government's approach to freedom of information."
* As per our earlier story, the ICO site is under DDoS attack; we’ll get you a link to the full response when we can - apologies