OpenDemocracy is taking legal action over the Cabinet Office’s ‘Orwellian’ Clearing House that vets FOI requests and could breach data protection law
openDemocracy is going to court to force the British government to release full details about its controversial ‘Clearing House’– a secretive unit inside Michael Gove’s Cabinet Office, which is accused of blocking sensitive Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.
In November, openDemocracy revealed that the ‘Orwellian’ unit in the Cabinet Office was vetting FOI requests and sharing personal information about journalists across Whitehall in ways that experts believe could be in breach of the law.
The Cabinet Office has refused to disclose full details about the Clearing House operation under the Freedom of Information Act – despite the FOI watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office, ordering it to do so in July 2020.
Now openDemocracy is going to an information tribunal in a bid to force transparency on the Clearing House.
On Thursday 29 April, a first-tier tribunal will hear the case. openDemocracy has instructed Leigh Day, a firm of public law specialists, to argue its case and has received support from across the British media.