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23.1.09

WhatDoTheyKnow.com

A response from the Ministry of Justice to a request made under the Freedom of Information. The request was made using the exellent new WhatDoTheyKnow.com website and concerns the Duchy of Cornwalls exemption from the FOI act.

Taken from the response:

Thank you for your email of 22 December seeking additional information about the Duchy of Cornwall's exclusion from the Freedom of Information Act 2000 ('the Act'). ‘Public authority’ has a specific definition for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act. It is defined there as any body listed in Schedule 1 to the Act or a ‘publicly-owned company’. The Duchy of Cornwall is not listed in Schedule 1. Nor is it a publicly-owned company as defined in section 6 of the Act. This means that the Duchy is not a public authority for the purposes of the Act.

The FOI Act includes powers for Ministers to designate additional organisations as public authorities for freedom of information purposes by orders, either under section 4 which applies to bodies created and partly appointed by the Crown or by government etc, or under section 5 which applies to bodies that carry out public functions. The Government has no plans to bring the Duchy of Cornwall within the scope of the Act.

So why is the Duchy not listed in Schedule 1 when it clearly has some of the functions of a public authority? Why is the government not planning to bring the Duchy within the FOI act? Some more questions to follow up.

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