Simon Wright, MP for Norwich South has called on the Government to include Network Rail within the scope of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Mr Wright raised the issue in the House of Commons yesterday during questions to Ministry of Justice Ministers, who have responsibility for Freedom of Information legislation.
Speaking after the session Simon Wright said:
“There have been worries over the transparency of Network Rail for some time now.
“It’s responsible for billions of pounds of public money each year and yet its internal operations are not transparent.
“Including Network Rail within the scope of the Freedom of Information Act would allow the public to more easily hold the organisation to account.”
Mr Wright, who is a member of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee on Transport, asked Ministers to include Network Rail within the scope of the FoI Act.
Responding to Mr Wright, Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly said the Government was committed to making Network Rail more accountable to its customers and believed there is a ‘strong case’ for its inclusion in the FoI Act.
The Norwich South MP’s views echo that of the Public Accounts Committee. In July of this year, the Committee concluded that the internal operations of Network Rail are ‘not transparent’.
It concluded that the relationships between the rail operator and those reviewing its efficiency “may be too cosy.”
The report: Office of Rail Regulation: Regulating Network Rail’s efficiency went on to say there is a lack of clarity over who is being held to account.
The Government is currently consulting more than 200 bodies about possibly being included under FOI.
Liberal Democrat MPs have recently suggested that when large sums of public money are spent by organisations, whether in the public or private sectors, those bodies should be subject to FOI.