The scope of the Freedom of Information Act (FoI) should be extended to cover private firms – including IT companies – that work on government contracts, according to a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report.
It follows a vow that deputy prime minister Nick Clegg made last year to widen the scope of the FoI to allow citizens to “hold big institutions and powerful individuals to account – and not only the government”.
In its ‘Department for Work and Pensions: the introduction of the Work Programme’ report, the PAC concluded that there was currently not enough transparency over the financial affairs of firms that work for government.
“We remain of the view that in the interests of transparency, where private companies provide public services funded by the taxpayer, those areas of their business which are publicly funded should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act provision,” the report stated.
Earlier this month, the Cabinet Office revealed changes to FoI, which require public sector departments to not only publish datasets, but make sure that they are available in a re-usable format.