Thank you for contacting me about freedom of information which, like you, I fully support.

The Government has strengthened accountability and made public services work better for people. It has made it easier for people to access information and increased the volume of information available. The World Wide Web Foundation’s Open Data Barometer and Open Knowledge’s Global Open Data Index ranked the UK as the world’s leading country on open government.

However, as it has been more than a decade since the Freedom of Information Act came into force, the Government has established an independent, cross-party Commission to review it and to make sure it is functioning as intended. The Commission will consider whether there is an appropriate public interest balance between transparency, accountability and the need for sensitive information to have robust protection, and whether the operation of the Act adequately recognises the need for a private space for policy development, implementation and frank advice.

The Commission received over 30,000 submissions and has decided to hold two oral evidence sessions in January 2016. It will now report as soon as possible after these sessions and I look forward to the Commission's conclusion and the Government's response in due course.