9 october 2013
News: Civil society organisations call for PM to commit to greater openness
The prime minister and minister for the Cabinet Office have repeatedly stated that they want to be ''the most open and transparent government in the world''. On 8 October, a group of UK Civil society organisations published an open letter to David Cameron calling on him to put this ambition into action by making a series of significant commitments towards greater openness.
While the government has made positive progress on some aspects of open government, civil society organisations are concerned by its inaction and regressive plans in other key areas. The signatories of the letter – 18 organisations working for more open government in the UK - call on the PM to commit to:
- Make public who owns and controls companies and trusts, by publishing a public register of beneficial ownership. This would support good corporate governance and lift the veil of secrecy that the corrupt and the criminal use to hide their identity.
- Enable public scrutiny of all organisations in receipt of public money, by opening up public sector contracts and extendingtransparency standards and legislation, including Freedom of Information, to all information held by a contractor in connection with a public service contract. This would enable proper scrutiny of outsourced public services to ensure they are run efficiently, effectively and properly.
- Bring lobbying out into the open in the UK, by developing a robust, compulsory register of lobbyists. An open and comprehensive register, unlike that currently planned by the government, would allow public scrutiny of who is lobbying whom, what they are seeking to influence and how much is being spent in the process.