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Transparency: The Key to Better Governance?$
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Christopher Hood and David Heald

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263839

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263839.001.0001

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Dashed Expectations: Governmental Adaptation to Transparency Rules

Dashed Expectations: Governmental Adaptation to Transparency Rules

(p.106) (p.107) 7 Dashed Expectations: Governmental Adaptation to Transparency Rules
Transparency: The Key to Better Governance?

Alasdair Roberts

British Academy

In January 2005, the United Kingdom's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) came into force, providing British citizens with a limited but justiciable right to government information. The Blair government promised that the new law would make two important contributions to British political life. The first would be a fundamental change in the predispositions of officials regarding the release of government information. Lord Chancellor Charles Falconer predicted that the FOIA would lead to ‘a new culture of openness: a change in the way we are governed’. This fundamental ‘change in the way we are governed’ was expected to produce a follow-on effect: the restoration of public trust in government. The linkage between a ‘vigorous commitment to freedom of information’ and the ‘renewal of trust’ was often made in the months before implementation of the law. The critical point is that the FOIA does not reduce the political salience of complaints about governmental secrecy and lack of transparency in the public sector.

Keywords:   United Kingdom, Freedom of Information, government information, openness, secrecy, trust, freedom of information, transparency

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