back to article Scottish decision threatens PFI contract secrecy

The Scottish Information Commissioner has ordered a health board to disclose the details of a private finance initiative (PFI) hospital deal worth ₤1.2bn. The decision could have far-reaching consequences, says a freedom of information law expert. Commissioner Kevin Dunion said NHS Lothian could not refuse May Docherty's …

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I want to move to Scotland...

It seems they're so much more enlightened there.

It's about time this 'commercial confidentiality' excuse was thrown out. I've tried to get several items of information under FOI about Health Service plans in Wales. The plans would have a potentially major impact on helath care in my area, but they were refused due to 'commercial confidentiality'. How can anything to do with the public sector be 'commercially confidential'? We are the tax payer, we are the people ultimately making the contract with the private sector partner, how can anything be concealed from us? I do a number of jobs for the public sector: I have no problems about disclosing the details. Why should anyone else? If companies don't like it, they don't have to work for the public sector.

Please can this decision be extended to England and Wales ASAP

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Anonymous Coward

Fantastic

The only way we're going to get our public services back is if we make everything so transparent that companies won't be able to swindle us without being caught.

If a company doesn't want to be involved in a PFI contract because they're worried that they may have to justify their expenditure then they aren't the sort of company that we want invovled with public services.

This is the one situation where "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" is a valid argument. When they've got nowhere to hide, we've got nothing to fear.

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Alien

Scotland the Brave

Bravo..... Transparency in Action, and just like blood sucking vampires, the low lifes try to scurry away into the dank darkness with all manner of non-concerns ... "The exposure to public scrutiny of PFI contracts has been welcomed by trade unions, but it could make it harder for government agencies to find companies prepared to enter into agreements with them."

Why?

It wouldn't be because of the present practice of legalised collusion to defraud the Public Purse for a Stream of Private Profit/Sub Prime Performance, would it?

Have many of these Contracts been sold on as valuable Assets to unsuspecting and trusted Clients? Oh dear, what a kick in the balls that would be. With friends like that who needs enemies.

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The sooner we can see how much future Govt revenue is already spent, the better (IMHO)

Hopefully public service spending will become trasparent in England too, soon.

Uh-oh - there I go again - dreaming in colour !

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Dreaming Allowed ...and Encouraged

"Uh-oh - there I go again - dreaming in colour "

:-) Welcome to the Diaspora, H2Nick.

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"When they've got nowhere to hide, we've got nothing to fear."

Now THAT's a slogan to live for !

Hear ! hear !

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Unhappy

@Anonymous Coward 1

Er, I think you've missed the point. This one was also refused on "Commercial confidentiality" grounds. What you are seeing here is a result of an appeal against that decision to the Information Commissioner.

You don't say whether you have raised an appeal centrally, but I'm guessing you haven't. If so, you cannot say that this wouldn't go the same way in your case. My gut feel is that you probably shouldn't hold your breath though. The English Commissioner's continuity of employment relies on not pissing off Gordon Brownstuff, the architect and biggest fanboi of PFI and its fraudulent effect on Government finances.

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Stop

"Commercial confidentiality" bullshit

Like AC1 points out, we the people, through our appointed agents/delegates the government, are party to these contracts. Yet they - our appointees - insist we can't be allowed to see the contracts they have signed on our behalf.

If you were an investor in a private company, and the CFO decided that all the contracts he'd signed with other firms were "commercially confidential" and you weren't allowed to see them, you wouldn't mess around: you'd seize the books and go through them with a fine-tooth comb to try and figure out what the bastard's embezzling, because you'd know the only possible reason would be because he's stealing.

I think the same applies here, and we've already got all the prima facie we need: pretty much every government minister in the past twenty years who has had pretty much anything to do with a PFI deal or privatisation has ended up working for the same people they've just signed the deal with or sold the public assets to, and almost always at a sinecure job paying them a vast fortune for a nominal day or two's work a week. And almost all of those deals and privatisations involve handing over massively inflated sums of public money or disposing of public assets at prices hugely below market rates. And the PFI firms always do a shit job and always ramp up their prices after the fact, and the government never complains, never sues them, never demands a refund, and is always keen to give them as many more contracts as they want, and it happens over and again.

How much more obvious does anyone need it to be?

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Good

The sooner this huge con-trick, this deferred time-bomb of a massive debt for future generations is exposed the better. Then we'll REALLY see NuLabour's legacy.

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