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Tribunal orders ID card reviews to be published

The Information Tribunal has upheld the original Information Commissioner’s order that the ID cards’ Gateway Reviews should be published.

The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) has once again been told to publish two Gateway Reviews' into the identity (ID) card scheme.

The Information Tribunal today published its latest ruling, dismissing the OGC's long-running appeal to block the disclosure of the reviews, which the government procurement body has said would threaten national security.

The reviews, which are used to track major government projects at various stages in their lifecycle, were carried out by the OGC on behalf of the Home Office in 2003 and 2004.

In 2006, Information Commissioner Richard Thomas ordered the OGC to make the reviews public, following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

But the OGC appealed the decision in the High Court, which referred the decision back to the tribunal.

Today's ruling said: "The Tribunal upholds the Decision of the Information Commissioner in his Decision Notice dated 31 July 2006 and orders the disclosure of the two Gateway Reports within 28 days."

The ruling paves the way for some detail of the review to be published, including the results of a 'traffic-light' rating system used to assess the progress of the 4.7-billion project.

Steve Wood, assistant Information Commissioner, welcomed the ruling, saying that Thomas was aware of the importance the government attaches to the Gateway Review process at the time he issued his original FOI decision.

"Disclosure will enhance public debate and understanding on issues regarding the programme's feasibility, management and progress," he added.

Wood also pointed out that the ruling did not set a precedent and that FOI requests were handled by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) on a case-by-case basis.

The OGC was limited in its response. It said in a statement: "The Information Tribunal has concluded that neither they nor the Information Commissioner believe all Gateway Reviews should be disclosed. It has made clear that its decision refers only to this specific request and does not set any precedent."

The appellant added that it was currently assessing the detail of the Information Tribunal's decision and would respond in full in due course.

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