ICO report published: Outsourcing Oversight?

The ICO laid a report before Parliament on 28 January 2019.

Outsourcing Oversight? The case for reforming access to information law’ calls for an update to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) to include organisations providing a public function.

The main aim of the report is to make an evidence-based case to extend the reach of FOIA and the EIR to enable greater transparency and accountability in modern public services, which in turn improves services.

The report is linked to the ICO’s draft access to information strategy ‘Openness by Design’.

What is Outsourcing Oversight?
The ICO’s report is written for parliamentarians. It will also be of interest to those who may be impacted by any change to the law, including government departments and local councils, police, education, NHS organisations, organisations providing outsourced services and other organisations providing a public function, such as housing associations.

For more information: https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/what-we-do/outsourcing-oversight/

The reply from Chloe Smith MP to the ICO report ‘Outsourcing Oversight’ published earlier this year.

That is a surprise,
I think the SME argument is disingenuous ‘there are significant concerns about the potential impact of more regulation on SMEs, the voluntary sector and social enterprises.’ I am sure there would be a way to exempt orgs of a certain size/type and it perhaps would create a more informed environment for SMES, voluntary sector and social enterprises to operate in.

We blogged about this when the report was first published:


We haven’t had much response or feedback with regards to the potential impact of the proposals on charities, so it would be helpful to hear views from other members of this Forum.


Exactly, the recommendations in the ICO report had said that the size of contracts could help to serve as a guide as to how to find some kind of threshold to include bigger private entities into the FOI Act - inevitably therefore not really affecting a lot of SMEs/charities. Having to be complaint with the FOIA could therefore apply to those entities winning big-money contracts, or even considering just those +/-28 entities who are designated ‘strategic suppliers’. Or as in Scotland, designate certain bodies, like housing Associations.