International Conference of Information Commissioners highlights need for greater transparency in contracted-out public services
The 10th International Conference of Information Commissioners has passed a resolution aimed at tackling a key challenge for access to information frameworks around the world – the growth in contracted-out public services.
The resolution was agreed in Manchester on September 21 by the commissioners following dialogue with civil society groups about the transparency challenges posed by new modes of delivery for public services.
It highlights the “challenge of scrutinising public expenditure and the performance of services provided by outsourced contractors” and “the impact on important democratic values such as accountability and transparency and the wider pursuit of the public interest”.
Next steps agreed in the resolution include the promotion of global open contracting standards, and a new conference working group to share practice about different initiatives that have been developed to tackle the issue.
The ICIC 2017 conference was jointly hosted by the UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham and Acting Scottish Information Commissioner Margaret Keyse. Commissioners from 39 jurisdictions in 30 countries and seven continents attended.
The two-day event, which had the theme ‘Trust, transparency and progressive information rights’, began on Wednesday with a day of debates and discussions including contributions from academics, journalists, freedom of information campaigners and regulators. This was followed on Thursday by the commissioners’ own conference, a summary of which can be read on the ICIC website.
Notes to Editors
- The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
- The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
- The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides individuals or organisations with the right to request official information held by a public authority. The Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) provide access to environmental information.
- The ICO has responsibility for enforcing the FOIA and EIR in the UK and for UK-wide public bodies operating in Scotland. The Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner enforces the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 which apply to Scottish public authorities.
- The International Conference of Information Commissioners (ICIC) takes place every two years and allows freedom of information regulators and stakeholders to freely discuss issues affecting public transparency and access to official information, identifying emerging challenges and sharing best practice.
- To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to org.uk/concerns/