01 September 2009

A little too much openness?

There are no doubt bloggers who will comment substantively on the various papers released by Whitehall and St Andrew's House on the Al-Megrahi affair. I have a minor procedural point.

I was disappointed, even dismayed, to see that the papers released by the Scottish administration included advice from officials to the Minister (here for example). I had understood that the policy was not to disclose such advice, on the grounds that disclosure might prejudice the future preparation of advice that was frank, honest, impartial and comprehensive. Civil servants preparing submissions to Ministers should not be obliged to consider the implications of having the detail of their advice exposed in the yellow press at some date in the future. And having decided to release the advice on this occasion, how will Ministers resist similar demands in the future? A bit worrying. Is Sir John Elvidge content with this development?

(This has nothing to do with the fact that I prepared and put up a number of Ministerial submissions in the 1990s that I would hate to see made public property in the here and now.)

1 comment:

half marathon man said...

Re the final paragraph, I'm not surprised.