Probe into cost of Freedom of Information

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THE Council of Ministers has agreed to a full impact assessment being undertaken to clarify the cost of introducing Freedom of Information legislation, Chief Minister Allan Bell MHK has confirmed.

Mr Bell told the House of Keys last week that it would be ‘irresponsible’ to introduce a Freedom of Information Act in the current financial climate without first being clear about how much it was likely to cost.

‘At a time of potential cuts in spending on public services we really do need to know what it will cost so that we can properly prepare and plan this legislation.’ he said.

Mr Bell said the impact assessment was being given high priority and he was committed to making a statement on progress by the February 2012 sitting of Tynwald.’

Mr Bell said the experience of Jersey indicated FOI start-up costs of £5 million and annual costs of £1 million to administer. He said if the assessment showed similar costs would be incurred here, then ‘we would have to review the situation’.

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