The Context and Challenges of Freedom of Information in Local Government: A Practitioner’s Perspective
However, whilst the disclosures have been both entertaining and embarrassing they provide a somewhat narrow perspective on open government. Local authorities have become increasingly open in recent years and I believe that the Freedom of Information Act 2000 has provided a valuable contribution to the continuing process of keeping the public informed about local decisions. Nevertheless, if we are to assess the value of freedom of information then I believe that we need to consider at least three factors. One of these concerns the relationship between central government and local authorities, a second concerns the development of what has been termed local governance and the third concerns the various attempts that have been made to involve the public in local decision making. Although these three factors are considered separately they are, of course, inter-related and likely to become increasingly linked as we progress into the twenty-first century.