04 August 2006 | Paul Snell
The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) has been ordered to reveal the outcome of its reviews into the government's ID card scheme.
Richard Thomas, the freedom of information commissioner, decided to uphold two complaints made against the OGC and Treasury after they refused to release information on the outcome of gateway reviews into the ID programme.
The gateway process examines major government projects at five critical stages. The Treasury and the OGC argued that releasing these findings would "discourage the future co-operation of those providing information", but Thomas disagreed. He said public interest and the need to be transparent and accountable was stronger than the arguments put forward to keep the information secret.
He added that disclosure would "enhance public debate of issues such as the programme's feasibility".
The organisations now have 28 days to appeal against the ruling.
The judgment follows further criticism of the ID card programme in a report by the Commons' science and technology committee. It said stakeholders consulted about the procurement process were "not satisfied with the scope of the consultation". The select committee has urged the Home Office to consult further about the procurement process.