CABINET OFFICE70 Whitehall, London SW1A 2AS

Telephone 0171-270 0400

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster  
Cabinet Minister for Public Service  
KbO 11244  
Charles Medawar Esq  
Social Audit Ltd  
PO Box 111  
London NW1 8XG

16th December 1996


Dear Mr Medawar


Thank you for your letter of 2 December, with its attached letter to Frank Dobson.

You wrote in anticipation of the White Paper on Freedom of Information - "Your Right to Know". This has now been published and you will, I hope, now have the copy I sent you on the day of publication. "Your Right to Know" makes it clear that the Government is planning FOI legislation on a radical and very inclusive basis. Both the particular bodies and the types of information you were concerned about would be within the proposed scope of the Act. In addition, I believe you will already know that Ministers have asked the Medicines Control Agency to examine its current policies on access to information about medicines, with a view to maximising public access while safeguarding legitimate confidential interests.

Finally, you mentioned our proposals on Opening up Quangos. You may already have a copy of the consultation document of this name which I published last month, but if not I enclose one for your reference. The proposals cover the Committee on Safety of Medicines, the other body you mentioned, as they do many other public authorities. Again, the emphasis in this initiative is very much on ensuring that government at all levels is open, accountable and effective.

I hope that these developments fully answer the concern you expressed in your letter.

I am copying this reply to Frank Dobson.

Yours sincerely,



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