About access to information in some European countries
The French Ministry of Finance has published in the Internet the budgets for all communes, territorial departments and regions for 2004 and for previous years.
At the present time bodies of territorial self-government within the country have begun to work under new conditions. This is connected with the fact that in accordance with the law on financial autonomy from 29 July 2004 and the law on their freedoms and responsibilities from 13 August 2004, bodies of local self-government receive a much greater amount of State funds, and also wider powers in managing the development of their territories. In addition, the role of local authorities in providing investment in local development increases.
In connection with this, the government is taking steps to increase transparency and openness in the work of local authorities.
The United Kingdom
British bodies of power are getting used to rigorous compliance with the Law on freedom of information. In comparison with the first quarter of this year, central executive bodies in the United Kingdom noticeably improved their level of compliance with the demands of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act 2000] in the second quarter, according to a government report released.
This particularly concerns the time taken to provide answers to formal requests for information from individuals and organizations. Whereas in the first quarter only 69% of the requests were dealt with in the 20 day period allowed for this, from April to June this figure was already 82%.
It is worth noting that the wave of requests for information is beginning to fall: in the second quarter it stood at 8,400 requests which was 38% less than at the beginning of the year.
The best departments proved to be the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Debt Management Office, the Ordnance Survey и the Treasury Solicitors Department, which answered all requests for information within 20 days. The Home Office and Her Majestys Treasury had the worst results.
The most popular turned out to be the Ministry of Defence which received 1,039 requests.
For her turn, the Scottish Minister for Parliamentary Business, Margaret Curran, announced that a study was to be made about the compliance with the Freedom of Information Act in Scotland. She invited all of those individuals interested, as well as civic organizations, to provide their responses and comments with regard to any problem concerning FoI, including issues involving the payment of work of executive bodies in satisfying requests for information.
However, some civic organizations have already suggested that public discussion may end in an increase in the cost of information services provided by the authorities. At the present time all requests for information which cost the authorities up to 100 pounds to satisfy are free of charge.
The source: еgovmonitor.com, Great Britain
The material was compiled by Roman Romanov