1.1 Open Government is part of effective democracy. Citizens must have adequate access to the information and analysis on which government business is based. Ministers and public servants have a duty to explain their policies, decisions and actions to the public. Governments need, however, to keep some secrets, and to have a duty to protect proper privacy of whose for whom they deal.
4.3 The essential requirements to make the intensions set out in this White Paper stick are:
— a clear statement of principle on what kind of information will be available;
— a clear statement of the circumstances in which information can justifiably be withheld;
— detached, authoritative and independent supervision.
4.4 The Government proposes to develop a Code of Practice, and supporting means of delivery of information to the public, which will meet these objectives. A draft Code is set out for Consultation at Annex A.
9.14 Examples of records closed for longer than 30 years under the first criterion are those which:
— refers to possible plans of intervention in a foreign state;
— concern security or defense of UK Dependent Territory, where release could jeopardise the security of the territory concerned;
— comment on unresolved border or territorial dispute, not necessarily directly involving UK; or
— comment adversely on leaders of, or internal affair of, foreign states.
Presented to Parliament by the Chancellor of The Duchy of Lancaster By Command of Her Majesty
Cm 2290, LONDON : HMSO
File for download — Open Government Whitepaper 1993.pdf