Transport for London has promised to adopt London Assembly recommendations aimed at enhancing transparency within City Hall and its agencies.
A report prepared by the Assembly’s Oversight Committee says Greater London Authority agencies must embrace transparency and adopt an approach where “as much information as possible is published at the earliest opportunity.”
Documents and reports should normally be published in full with redactions made only where they contain “a limited number of sensitive items”.
Where a large number of redactions would required, AMs say documents should be split into public (Part 1) and private (Part 2) sections with as much information contained in the public section as possible.
They also say GLA bodies should “avoid altogether withholding or delaying the publication of papers in their entirety” as doing so means the public cannot know the document exists or a decision has been taken.
The report also condemns the routine use of ‘commercial confidentiality’ as a reason to limit the release of information to the public and highlights TfL’s inconsistent approach to publishing information.
Appearing before the Committee on Thursday, Howard Carter, Head Counsel at TfL said: “We are going to accept all of the recommendations” and promised the organisation would deliver “positive responses” to calls for greater openness.
The report was welcomed by Sir Eddie Lister, Chief of Staff to Mayor Boris Johnson, who also attended the meeting.
Sir Eddie thanked Assembly Members for recognising areas where the Mayor had already delivered on promises to introduce greater transparency, but said the Authority was “on a journey” and was looking at ways to make further improvements.
He said part of the challenge was about changing the “culture” within organisations but agreed that only information which is genuinely confidential should be withheld from the public.
The Mayor’s office will make a final formal response to the report at a later date.