It's called the Freedom of Information act. The point being surely that it means information should be freely available. Not difficult to understand, shirley? FREELY available means you can't place conditions on your response to an FoI request. What next; "We could tell you, but if we tell you we'll have to kill you"?
Why has it taken the IC so long to clarify this? Could it be the usual civil service job creation scheme? That is to say every office within the civil service makes sure that every job contains the maximum amount of work in order to expand the empire. If the government really want to make cuts in public expenditure then a good place to start would be to send in the time and motion man to the civil service.