Section 28 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 restricts how HSC/E can release information that people or organisations were under an obligation to provide us with. There will be no need for these restrictions once the Freedom of Information Act 2000 comes fully into force on 1 January 2005.
From that date there will be a general right of access to information held by public bodies, subject to the Act's exemptions. We believe that information to which section 28 applies can be adequately safeguarded, where it needs to be, using the exemptions in the FOI Act. And that, by using the FOI Act exemptions when information has to be withheld at certain times, people will be better able to understand why.
The Government, and the Health and Safety Commission want Section 28 brought in line with the Freedom of Information Act. We would like your views on how this can best be done, and on what will happen as a result of the change.
A summary of the responses and the consultation document are below.