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Contractors could face FoI scrutiny

carillion 2

Contractors working on public sector projects could be held to greater account if Freedom of Information (FoI) powers are extended, as one Labour MP has proposed.

Labour MP Andy Slaughter has revealed plans to extend FOI powers to cover contractors working on public projects such as HS2, as Carillion had been before its collapse in January this year, and housing associations.

Slaughter said that after the Grenfell Tower fire and construction giant Carillion’s collapse, private companies running public services should be subject to greater public scrutiny.

Private firms are currently exempt from releasing information requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

“Under the proposals in my bill, FOI requests about a contractor’s performance would be made to the public authority concerned, but it would no longer matter whether the information in question was held by the public authority or the contractor. In both cases, the information would be open to scrutiny,” said Slaughter.

“The collapse of Carillion shows what happens when these contracts go wrong, with devastating job loses, money lost to the public purse and public infrastructure projects facing significant delays.”

Taxpayers will spend a total of £148M on Carillion’s liquidation, the National Audit Office revealed last week.

A private members bill, the Freedom of Information (Extension) Bill, has been tabled for a second reading in parliament on Friday (15 June).

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