The announcement by Shadow Justice Minister Sadiq Khan that Labour will extend Freedom of Information rules to private companies that deliver public services has been hailed as a key step forward by Cambridge Labour’s Parliamentary spokesperson Daniel Zeichner.
Mr Zeichner says that while Mr Khan highlighted schools, health services and prisons, he wants to see the rules cover all companies in receipt of public money, including transport providers such as Stagecoach and the rail companies.
Mr Khan told the Labour Conference:
“It’s time to address a blind spot in our Freedom of Information laws. I’m proud Labour introduced FoI, however awkward it can be. Not only will the next Labour Government protect FoI, but we will seek to extend it. For the first time, FoI will cover the delivery of public services by private companies. This includes our prisons, our schools and our health service. Public private or voluntary, subjected to the same disinfecting transparency of FoI.”
Mr Zeichner says: “For too long, companies have hidden behind ‘commercial confidentiality’ when taking huge sums of money from tax-payers. Whether it is care homes and care providers, or bus and train companies, the principle should be the same -; if you take public money, there are responsibilities that go with that, including being accountable and open.”