What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove

Lisa Nandy writes about Michael Gove and his dodging the question over whether he's working with the freedom of information act

Gove: Happy to deal with the ICO! Maybe.

 

By Lisa Nandy MP (Labour, Wigan)

Last year the Financial Times reported that advisers at the Department for Education were conducting official DfE business through private email accounts to avoid the freedom of information act.

In response to a number of complaints, the Information Commissioner visited the department and after concluding that it wasn’t clear that the act had been properly understood or followed by staff, issued guidance.

At yesterday’s education questions, Kevin Brennan asked Michael Gove to confirm that he and his advisors had never deleted emails, from private addresses or otherwise, to avoid scrutiny. Visibly rattled, Gove refused to answer the question and simply asserted that he and his department had operated in accordance with Cabinet Office policy.

A letter I received from the information commissioner today may explain why.

The letter says:

“In addition to the guidance and good practice report published before Christmas, I can confirm that my office also has a number of active investigations in to these issues.

“I plan to conclude a number of complaints under Section 50 of the FOI act over the next few months – these will cover whether specific information requested is held for purposes of the act. I am also still considering allegations about whether individuals at the department breached section 77 of the act.”

Since taking office Gove has proven evasive on a succession of key questions.

He refuses to reveal the cost of his free schools programme.

He wouldn’t answer my parliamentary questions about the grant he awarded, without tender, to the New Schools Network until he was ordered to by the House of Commons’ procedure committee.

He had to be ordered to answer a freedom of information request about the same subject by the Information Commissioner.

He refuses to release details of consultation by academies, and won’t publish the minutes of discussions at the DfE board (the department releases only basic headings).

It makes you wonder what it is that Gove has to hide. Perhaps when the Information Commissioner concludes his complaints, we might discover the answer.

See also:

• Michael Gove calls for £60m distraction – Alex Hern, January 16th 2012

• The best preventative medicine in the world can’t undo the damage of Osborne’s austerity – Dr Tristan Learoyd, November 2nd 2011

• Clinton: UK’s austerity budget could mean deficit will increase – Will Straw, July 7th 2011

• Monarchy “perpetuates inequality” says Plaid AM – Ed Jacobs, June 8th 2011

• Weak EU growth reveals the price of austerity – Ben Fox, February 15th 2011

43 Responses to “What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove”

  1. Trakgalvis

    RT @leftfootfwd: What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove, writes @lisanandy: http://t.co/sUHchbOc

  2. Carolyn B

    RT @leftfootfwd: What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove, writes @lisanandy: http://t.co/sUHchbOc

  3. Patron Press - #P2

    #UK : What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove http://t.co/ChsOtOMW

  4. Pulp Ark

    What was hiding behind the boat: Information… http://t.co/Zcfd21uf #Clean_Politics #Boat #Boatflap #Education #FoI #muslim #tcot #sioa

  5. Powerbase

    What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove | Left Foot Forward http://t.co/OOjPn9vB #FOI

  6. Spinwatch

    What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove | Left Foot Forward http://t.co/Cn9IW86f #FOI

  7. Juli C

    What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove, writes @lisanandy: http://t.co/xBfFsWW9

  8. Jane Shaw

    RT @leftfootfwd: What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove http://t.co/Ft7Kz3gE

  9. Thomas Thurman

    Was yacht story a manufactured storm to help Gove hide a dirtier truth? http://t.co/w879K22S

  10. Katy Layton-Jones

    What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove, writes @lisanandy: http://t.co/xBfFsWW9

  11. Fiona Montgomery

    What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove, writes @lisanandy: http://t.co/xBfFsWW9

  12. David Pegg

    From the 'Why We Need #FOI Dept' – evasive behaviour by the Department for Education http://t.co/sdn0ytQd

  13. Political Planet

    What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove: Lisa Nandy writes about Michael… http://t.co/VHk4xq7p

  14. AmyJ

    RT @leftfootfwd: What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove http://t.co/ZarBaD5P

  15. Jasper Jackson

    From the 'Why We Need #FOI Dept' – evasive behaviour by the Department for Education http://t.co/sdn0ytQd

  16. Rep in the Regions

    What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove | Left Foot Forward http://t.co/Cn9IW86f #FOI

  17. mediantoo

    That shameless monomaniacal arriviste political zealot Michael Gove is being very generous with our money. Give us a break, Michael, I’m still trying to work out how the Thatcher government fleeced us!

  18. Alasdair Mackenzie

    What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove, writes @lisanandy: http://t.co/xBfFsWW9

  19. Darren Nash

    Surprise! RT @leftfootfwd: What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Michael Gove: http://t.co/ocxnxTG0

  20. Joanna Rickhards

    A bad week for Michael Gove. The epic royal yacht misjudgement may have been a smokescreen for something more sinister. http://t.co/YlmSUbGY

  21. Ilona Pinter

    …http://t.co/MRqOaCk9

  22. Yrotitna

    What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove, writes @lisanandy http://t.co/tjGCaVH9 (via @leftfootfwd)

  23. Sam Kington

    Was yacht story a manufactured storm to help Gove hide a dirtier truth? http://t.co/w879K22S

  24. Howard Ricketts

    RT @leftfootfwd: What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove http://t.co/pD6vJ5Yu

  25. Stephenmccluskie

    Am I mistaken or is Gove the Tory minister who has had the most meetings with Murdoch including some in New York. Murdoch has succeeded into breaking into the New York school system. This needs looking into

  26. Ashley Harnett

    What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove http://t.co/YHkYu7A5

  27. Private Pike

    RT @leftfootfwd: What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove http://t.co/pD6vJ5Yu

  28. Chris Boyle

    Was yacht story a manufactured storm to help Gove hide a dirtier truth? http://t.co/w879K22S

  29. William CullerneBown

    You seem to have missed the main point here. Section 77 is the part of the Act that allows for criminal prosecutions. So the Commissioner is now investigating some individuals at the DfE for *criminal* actions.

    (Though from the correspondence here, we can’t tell who the range of those individuals is limited to.)

  30. suzannah reeves

    Michael Gove's email problems just got *much* worse. "Individuals" at DfE now being investigated for *criminal* acts http://t.co/mctz566K

  31. Anthony Carr

    Michael Gove's email problems just got *much* worse. "Individuals" at DfE now being investigated for *criminal* acts http://t.co/mctz566K

  32. Celia Kelly

    RT @leftfootfwd: What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove http://t.co/UNthUKMr

  33. Robin CGM

    Michael Gove's email problems just got *much* worse. "Individuals" at DfE now being investigated for *criminal* acts http://t.co/mctz566K

  34. Penelope Pendragon

    Michael Gove's email problems just got *much* worse. "Individuals" at DfE now being investigated for *criminal* acts http://t.co/mctz566K

  35. Favstar Pop

    Michael Gove's email problems just got *much* worse. "Individuals" at DfE now being investigated for *criminal* acts http://t.co/mctz566K

  36. Cllr Darren Cooper

    Michael Gove's email problems just got *much* worse. "Individuals" at DfE now being investigated for *criminal* acts http://t.co/L5mUIthY”

  37. Cllr Darren Cooper

    Michael Gove's email problems just got *much* worse. My Council have been asking the questions ! No response Mr Gove http://t.co/yP0th2Bl””

  38. Staffordshire UNISON

    Michael Gove's email problems just got *much* worse. "Individuals" at DfE now being investigated for *criminal* acts http://t.co/L5mUIthY”

  39. Wladyslaw Mejka

    Michael Gove's email problems just got *much* worse. "Individuals" at DfE now being investigated for *criminal* acts http://t.co/mctz566K

  40. Bob Lloyd

    Michael Gove's email problems just got *much* worse. "Individuals" at DfE now being investigated for *criminal* acts http://t.co/L5mUIthY”

  41. Brownhills Bob

    Michael Gove's email problems just got *much* worse. "Individuals" at DfE now being investigated for *criminal* acts http://t.co/L5mUIthY”

  42. Bob Lloyd

    Michael Gove's email problems just got *much* worse. My Council have been asking the questions ! No response Mr Gove http://t.co/yP0th2Bl””

  43. Government's "quantum leap" in transparency takes us in the wrong direction - Oh Boy | Left Foot Forward

    […] wrote: Since taking office Gove has proven evasive on a succession of key […]

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