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Independent Adviser on Ministers' Interests: Freedom of Information

Question for Cabinet Office

UIN 38276, tabled on 22 July 2021

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Freedom of Information Act 2000 applies to the Independent Adviser on Ministerial Interests.

Answered on

10 September 2021

The work of the Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests in advising Her Majesty’s Government is in scope of the Freedom of Information regime.

The Ministerial Code and the Independent Adviser's Terms of Reference, both of which are published on GOV.UK, also sets out a number of expectations about transparency of the Independent Adviser’s work and advice. In particular:

  • A statement covering relevant Ministers' interests will be published twice yearly. The last such statement - the List of Ministers' Interests - was published at the end of May 2021.

  • The Independent Adviser’s advice to the Prime Minister where he has carried out an investigation into an alleged breach of the Ministerial Code will be published.

  • The Independent Adviser also published an Annual Report, setting out the work he has undertaken and his observations on matters within his responsibilities.

As with all Freedom of Information requests, due consideration should be given to the qualified and absolute exemptions under the Act which Parliament has legislated for.

There may be information held where it is not in the public interest for such information to be in the public domain. It is long-standing Government policy not to comment on individual personnel matters, including investigations into conduct, in order to protect the rights of all involved. As with all information, personal data and information provided in confidence will be considered against the relevant exemptions. This also avoids prejudice to the ability to carry out such investigations. The Ministerial Code states that the personal information which Ministers disclose to those who advise them on the management of their interests will be treated in confidence.

Answered by

Cabinet Office
Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.