The Freedom of Information Bill, introduced into the House of Commons in November 1999, will give citizens access to information held by public authorities, with the intention of enabling them to participate in discussing policy issues. It is expected to complete itrpassage through Parliament during the current session and become law in mid-2000.
However, solicitors Lovells warn that the legislation will create new risks as well as providing new opportunities for business. The risks are that confidential information may become more easily available to competitors, customers, suppliers and interest groups. "In addition to the risks inherent in the features of the Bill... the context in which it is being introduced and the practicalities of implementation.