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Sat, 28 November 2020

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Brexit department worst in Whitehall for responding to Freedom of Information requests

Brexit department worst in Whitehall for responding to Freedom of Information requests
2 min read

The Department for Exiting the EU has the worst record for responding to Freedom of Information Requests in Whitehall.


Institute for Government research shared with the Guardian shows the department failed to respond to more than six in ten FOI requests.

“DExEU’s record on freedom of information is worse than most other government departments – in two of the five quarters of its existence, it’s withheld more information than any other department,” said Gavin Freeguard, the IFG’s head of data and transparency.

“This poor performance is part of a much broader picture of government opacity when it comes to Brexit. We have yet to see any serious impact assessments from departments, and are still waiting for white papers that were due to be published before the summer.”

Over the past year, the department – led by David Davis – met 18% of FOI requests in full, followed by the Foreign Office and Department for Trade, both of which shared full data in 24%.

A DExEU spokesperson said: “The department’s purpose is to negotiate our successful exit from the European Union, and therefore a significant amount of our work is sensitive. We always strive to balance our commitment to transparency with the need to protect sensitive information that could affect our negotiating position.”

Mr Davis was strongly criticised this month when he revealed the government had not carried out formal assessments of the impact of Brexit, seemingly in contradiction to previous ministerial statements.

 

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