Grenfell TowerThe UK Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, has urged public bodies to review their roles with view to providing greater transparency over fire safety information.

In an article on the ICO site she says;

People in many parts of the country are looking for reassurance of appropriate fire safety measures to prevent further tragedies elsewhere.

Others are looking for essential information to hold organisations to account as well as gaining a fuller understanding of the issues surrounding fire safety and decision-making related to social housing.

Elizabeth Denham goes on to say that whilst councils and public bodies are responding to of Freedom of Information requests she is urging them to go further than being reactive by a process of proactive sharing of important information regarding fire assessment and fire safety information.

The article draws attention to the responsibilities of public bodies under Freedom of Information legislation but notes that;

My office is also looking at the wider picture and how social housing organisations can be more transparent. For example, Housing Associations are currently not subject to Freedom of Information Act because the Act does not designate them as public bodies. It is clear to me that this is a significant gap in the public’s right to know.

Clearly the situation is evolving and under review from the ICO but it is clear that public bodies will be expected to provide this vital information in the future. Whilst the information alone does not improve the situation, the transparency can only serve to ensure that public bodies act with increased dilligence in the execution of their responsibilities.

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