A report is calling on local authorities to consider transparency before signing outsourcing contracts, due to limitations of the freedom of information act.
The report, published by the Information Commisioner’s Office (ICO), argues that ‘a transparency gap has opened up in the provision of public service’.
ICO head of policy, Steve Wood said: ‘It isn’t a secret that the growth in outsourcing has led to a fall in transparency, as freedom of information laws haven’t always been able to follow the public pound. But this isn’t an insurmountable problem.
‘We’re calling on public authorities and contractors to consider transparency from an early stage, before a contract is even signed. And we’re asking whether the government might need to step in to make sure the public can access the information they should be entitled to from big government-funded contractors.’
A survey carried out by the ICO found that 75% of people believed private companies acting on behalf of public authorities should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act.