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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The disinfecting power of sunlight

The disinfecting power of sunlight

Lot and lots of talk from David Cameron himself about Government openness, honesty and transparency which we all regard with justified degree of scepticism and here is one example of why.
This is a brief exchange with DWP through the FoI Act regarding their intent to comply with the PM’s statement.  As you will see there is none.  Is this down to DWP arrogance or PM bullshit?  You can decide for yourself.

28 February 2012:
Dear Department for Work and Pensions,
In describing the plans for open government and transparency, David Cameron has said,
We understand that people want government to be more effective in what it does, and to do it for less money. That means transforming the way the state goes about its business, using decentralisation, accountability and transparency to reduce dramatically the cost of government. And because sunlight is the best disinfectant, we will bring the operation of government out into the open so that everyone can see whether we are delivering good value for money.”
Given the last sentence here, when will DWP be in a position to reveal the identity of the Atos Independent Tier? Please describe the steps involved and the timeline for each.
If there is no such plan contrary to the PM’s promise, please just say so – I already have your “justification” for the current arrangements – the issue is when will you change them?

Yours faithfully,

26 March 2012 - clarification from me
The question here is about whether DWP has any intention to do this, to comply with the PM’s promise, or will it choose to remain outside of his assurances?
To phrase this differently, do you have any specific information to indicate that the contract with Atos will be renegotiated to bring it in line with the PM’s promises of Government transparency?  Either you have information to confirm this is in hand or you do not, which means you have no intention of complying.
I hope this makes it easier for you – either yes you have the information (and can show where it is) or no you do not.

1st May 2012 – DWP response
The information you have requested is not held by this Department. When the time comes to renew the current Contract, as with all competitive procurement exercises, the Department will establish a tender process and decisions on commercial sensitivity will be made at this time.
I am therefore satisfied that all the information that DWP are able to supply to you has been supplied.
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number above.
Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team


jack said...

The question here is about whether DWP has any intention to do this, to comply with the PM’s promise, or will it choose to remain outside of his assurances?
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Tia Junior said...

The duplicitous approach DWP is taking towards much of welfare and NHS reform I think guarantees the latter. It is faced with either coming clean about its true attitudes to health & welfare or admitting to massive incompetence, neither of which it has the integrity and honesty to do.
By the same token the PM has no interest in forcing their compliance as long as he can get away with impressive sounding but empty promises. Remember this is the same PM that complains about the 'arteries' of Government becoming blocked and has in mind to make access to information more difficult. What he clearly cannot see is the simple relationship between cause and effect and as a result will continue to focus on treating symptoms rather than curing the illness.