Extending the Freedom of Information Law (FOI)
Extending the Freedom of Information Law (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
What progress, if any, has been made to date on extending the Freedom of Information law to companies wholly owned by the States of Jersey - as voted on by the States assembly?
When is the law expected to be extended to those companies, or if no fixed date is there a deadline and what is it?
What are the main issues being raised by companies that would come under the legislation?
Please can I have any email correspondents between ministers and the companies in relation to the legislation as well as emails between the freedom of information team and ministers?
The extension of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 (FOI) to cover companies wholly owned by the States of Jersey is still under review.
The States of Jersey have committed to concluding that review during the first quarter of 2017, and reporting and proposing consequent changes as soon as possible thereafter.
The issues raised include the following:
- existing rules in place to protect the public interest eg the Competition (Jersey) Law 2005, the London Stock Exchange's rules and corporate governance requirements, and compliance with international accounting standards
- the existence of private shareholders and impact on incentives to investment
- the cost of compliance and any potential impact on prices and charges
- existing means by which information can be sought from the companies, including through the Treasury and Resources Minister as shareholder, who is subject to the FOI Law presently in relation to information held by the Treasury and Resources Department
- issues of competitive disadvantage for companies subject to FOI (cost and disclosure) operating in a competitive market
- trading partners reaction to dealing with the companies due to the risk of commercially sensitive information potentially being disclosed
- the application of exemptions within the FOI Law could mean that the proportion of questions which can be fully answered is small in any event. This would result in significant workload to examine requests with little public benefit by way of transparency
- legally-binding contractual arrangements and potential breaches related to the release of information in Jersey under FOI Law
Following a discussion with the applicant part D of the request has been retracted for the time being and so a response is not provided here.