Abstracts: January 18th, 2005

While some see the Freedom of Information Act as a charter for the media and aggrieved individuals to waste the time of public bodies, this publication from the Society of IT Management takes a more positive view. It argues that the new Act will bring an element of compulsion to the implementation of good information management practice. Examples of wrong decisions taken on the basis of inaccurate information include the cases of Toni-Ann Byfield, Victoria Climbie and the Soham murders. The Act is seen as much an opportunity for internal efficiency as external transparency.This briefing claims that the Act ushers in a new era in managing information in public services because it demands new thinking about a wide range of information management issues. These include the need for organisations to know what information they hold, how accurate it is, where it can be found, and whether it is exempt from publication under the Act.

Freedom of Information in 2005: a new era in managing information in local public services. Published by the Society of IT Management. 25 pounds. www.socitm.gov.uk