Finally, after over a year and four months, the Information Commissioner has issued a Decison Notice regarding our complaint about the Office for Government Commerce's refusal to publish the Stage Zero Gateway Reviews of the Home Office's Identity Cards Programme.
Basically, the Information Commissioner has ruled in our favour, and has dismissed the OGC's public interest exemption claims under "Section 33 - audit functions" and "Section 35 - formulation and development of government policy."
The OGC have 28 days to lodge an appeal with the Information Tribunal, or else they must, by law, disclose the requested information within 35 calendar days.
Read the full text: Information Commissioner Decision Notice re OGC Stage Zero Gateway Reviews of the Identity Cards Programme (11 pages)
Apart from shedding some light on the controversial Idenity Cards Programme, which the Information Commissioner deems to be of such national impact on the general public, that more transparency and open government is required, this ruling is also notable for the way in which the OGC's excuse for secrecy, namely that publication might reduce the frank and open discussions which a Gateway Review collates and analyses anonymously. The Information Commissioner basically cited the Civil Service Code back att the OGC - it is the duty of Civil Servants to be frank, open and honest with their best and most professional opinions and advice, at all times, and publication of Gateway Reviews should make no difference to this.
This is highly significant, as even Select Committees of the House of Commons, such as the Public Accounts Committee or the home Affairs Committee have not been given access to OGC Gateway Reviews, even in private.
The OGC even tried to prevent the Information Commissioner from sending him a hardcopy of the Gateway Reviews, but eventually had to relent.