In Mid-March, the Manx TaxPayers’ Alliance submitted a request to the Isle of Man Treasury under the Freedom of Information Act seeking a copy of the Steam Packet report commissioned by the Treasury relating to Coronavirus. This request also included a request for records of correspondence between the Treasury and the Steam Packet relating to this report.
Earlier today, the Department of Treasury responded.
The key points:
- The Treasury claims that the Steam Packet report “is exempt from disclosure under section 35(c) of the Act (conduct of public business) as disclosure would, or would likely, otherwise prejudice the effective conduct of public business”.
- It is unclear why public access to evidence would impede the Government’s parallel inquiry. Traditionally, open and public access to evidence enhances public inquiries.
- The “Final Report by Steam Packet Non-Executive Directors on Covid 19 Risk Management” was completely redacted.
- Taxpayers were asked to pay £10,000 for the secret report to be completed.
Commenting on this, Michael Josem of the Manx TaxPayers’ Alliance said, “This taxpayer funded report should have been published openly and transparently months ago. It should be published immediately, because the people of Mann deserve openness and transparency here.”
All three documents – the initial Freedom of Information Act request, the Department of Treasury’s letter in response outlining their position, and the disclosed documents, are published below.
Update, 4 May 2021: The letter published above from the Department of Treasury (Dated 30 April) outlining their position has been replaced with a new version at the request of the Treasury FOI Coordinator to remove their signature from the public file.