Yesterday it emerged that the government lost an appeal against the information commissioner’s ruling that the NHS risk register be made public. However it appears that, despite this ruling, the battle for the publication of this register is far from over with government officials confirming to the The Guardian that the ruling will be ignored and the register will remain unpublished.
This is a deeply troubling move and finally kills the idea that this government is serious when it says it will usher in a ‘new era of transparency‘. It is clear that it is business as usual in Westminster. In advance of such a critical bill that will result in the effective dismantling of our national health service, it is absolutely vital that this information is made public to enable proper scrutiny of the top-down reorganisation proposed by this government.
It is essential that pressure is applied to our representatives to ensure that both the register is published and the bill is dropped. It is a dangerous precedent for the government to set in ignoring the ruling of the Information Commissioner’s Office. How many other institutions will ignore the rulings of the ICO on the basis that the government has done so? We are not so much entering a new era of transparency as a new era of state secrecy and corruption. It is incumbent on all of us to ensure the government is held to account and that it abides by its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act, not to mention its broader obligations to the electorate who gave no democratic mandate for such an assault on our health service.
Be sure to write to your MP and make this absolutely clear to them. You can get their contact details from They Work For You. If we don’t hold them to account, who will?