Gove's department must release data on free schools applicants
16 January 2013
Michael Gove's Department for Education has been ordered to release information about people who are bidding to open free schools.
An information tribunal ruled that disclosure of the information was in the public interest, after the government had appealed against an earlier decision from the Information Commissioner's Office.
The government has resisted releasing information on unsuccessful applicants, which was requested under the Freedom of Information Act. It reportedly argued that doing so could deter them from re-applying and that it could also put others off the process.
Ministers are now understood to be considered the ruling, which according to the Guardian newspaper requires them to release the names, locations and any religious affiliations of applicants. It is not clear at present whether a further appeal will be made.
"The free school programme involves substantial public funds and significant changes to the way the education service is controlled, managed and delivered," the tribunal said, according to the BBC.
"It is a matter of considerable public importance and the transparency of the process and its openness to public debate and consideration are of concern to communities across England."