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THE collapse of Carillion has highlighted the need for greater transparency from a “shadow state” of private companies providing public services, Labour’s Louise Haigh said yesterday.
The Grenfell Tower fire also intensified the need for more transparency from housing associations (HAs), which are private charities fulfilling a public housing service, the Sheffield Heeley MP said while proposing changes to Freedom of Information (FoI) laws.
HAs would be subject to FoI requests if her tabled draft legislation is made law.
She also highlighted a lack of transparency by US-based firm Concentrix over a failed government contract to identify benefit fraud.
Ms Haigh said: “The limited scope of the FoI Act allows too many of those who are performing public functions with public money to nonetheless hide behind a cloak of secrecy.
“Bad decisions, targets missed, warnings ignored. The result, time and time again, is that similar to the [Carillion] scandal exposed in the past fortnight, that should have been predictable.”
Her Freedom of Information (Extension) Bill, introduced via a 10-minute rule motion, would also stop public bodies from delaying or restricting access to information.
It was given a second reading on June 15 but is unlikely to become law without government support.
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