FOIMan finds that the publication scheme has been much misunderstood and champions its role as a useful tool for practitioners.
It is often forgotten, but the Freedom of Information Act established two duties on public authorities. We hear all about the duty to answer requests, but very little about the other one – the duty to adopt a publication scheme.
In the past, I’ve been as dismissive of these schedules as anyone else. However, I’ve recently started to recognise that they have an increasingly important role in achieving compliance not just with FOI, but with other duties as well. What’s more, having delved into the history of the Act, I’ve discovered that there were very positive reasons for the inclusion of this duty in the legislation.
The government and stakeholders were keen to promote publication schemes at the start. Who knew, for instance, that at one point they were being lined up for a starring role in BBC soap opera The Archers?
If you’d like to know more, you can read my recent article for the Freedom of Information Journal. Details of how to subscribe to the journal can be found opposite.