Footnote to 28 July 1998 letter to MCA

The MCA misrepresents what the White Paper says by quoting out of context, to suggest that it is "information" and "communication" that needs to be protected. What the White Paper actually says is that the sources may need to be protected, rather than the information itself. In the context of Social Audit's questions, the distinction is critical, as requests related to collective/organisational matters, not to the views expressed by and attributed to individuals.

The White Paper on Open Government refers to a possible obligation of confidentiality, with "the views of experts given freely on the understanding of confidentiality". The MCA represents this as: "the need to protect information 'given freely on the understanding of confidentiality'."

Similarly, the White Paper mentions the need "to ensure adequate protection for people or organisations whose communications with public authorities were covered by explicit undertakings of confidentiality ...". The MCA refers to protecting  "communications 'covered by explicit undertakings of confidentiality ...' "