Headlines: March 17th, 1999

Making public services more open requires a culture change as well as legislation. Home Secretary Jack Straw has appointed an advisory group on openness to suggest how best to promote cultural change in the public sector. The Group is being chaired by Home Office Minister Lord Williams and the members are drawn from a variety of backgrounds including a civil service trade union, the health service and central and local government.

The Advisory Group are setting an example of openness by publishing the minutes of their meetings on the Home Office Internet Website www.homeoffice.gov.uk/

It is planned to publish the draft Freedom of Information Bill in May to allow for a period of public consultation, as well as pre-legislative scrutiny by the Public Administration Committee of the House of Commons.