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Gateway reviews of Home Office ID cards programme: Updated 19th March 2009

OGC received the following request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000:

The two pre-stage zero and the actual stage zero Gateway reviews of the Identity Cards Programme project being run by Home Office.

OGC took this to mean a request for information contained in two Gateway 0 Reviews (June 2003 and January 2004) and an earlier review conducted by the Home Office (March 2003).

OGC disclosed some of the background information contained within the two Gateway 0 Reviews (June 2003 and January 2004).  The remaining information was considered to be exempt from disclosure under the Act.  However, following referral to the Information Commissioner, and subsequently to the Information Tribunal and the High Court, OGC has now published this information as supplied below, in line with the Information Tribunal’s decision announced on 19th February 2009.

OGC had two main purposes in pursuing this case:  i) to safeguard the Gateway process, since this has proven a very effective tool in improving project performance; and ii) to obtain greater clarity and consistency regarding the application of exemptions under the FOI Act.  We are grateful to the Information Tribunal for the clarity of their decision which has helped achieve both of these purposes:

  • By concluding that neither the Information Tribunal nor the Information Commissioner believe all Gateway Reviews should be disclosed, and the release of the ID card reviews does not impact on the future treatment of reviews;
  • By supporting OGC’s application of sections 33 & 35;
  • And by commending the ‘undoubted success story which attends the Gateway Review Process as a whole’, which the Tribunal noted had permeated all types of Government programmes, and which had been maintained by the exchange of free, candid and confidential information.

OGC will continue to follow the approach to FOI disclosure as set out in the Ministry of Justice’s Working Assumption

Disclosed information