Charles Moore writes about FOI at the Telegraph and it is clear that he is not in favour.
[T]he effect of FoI is to promote dishonesty and concealment. I pity any biographer of any prime minister from Tony Blair onwards. He or she will not be short of government paper. Thanks to the computer’s power of infinite reproduction and the advent of the email (to whose implications, by the way, FoI gave no thought), he will drown in material. Because of the cant in which modern administrative documents are expressed, words like “openness” and “transparency” will be spattered over thousands of pages. But there will be no such openness or transparency. The big decisions will all have been made in whispers in a corridor, or abbreviated in a text message. To find out what happened, the biographer will have to rely solely on the fallible memory of elderly ex-ministers and officials.
This is a sad loss to history, and therefore to the public understanding of government which FoI is supposed to assist. But it is even more serious than that. It does not mean only that the records of government are skimped. It means also that government itself is corrupted.
We all rightly complain about bureaucracy, but all good government requires a trusted process. The interested parties – the relevant departments or agencies, No 10 Downing Street, Cabinet committees, the Crown – should be able to know and privately raise questions about a policy before it launches.
And he continues by setting out the standard "chilling effect" arguments against FOI.
The problem with Moore's position is that it is based on a misunderstanding of what the purpose and effect of the FOI Act are. FOI has exposed corruption and graft within the government and civil service to the benefit of the public at large. This is what it was designed to do. In this way the Act's authors hoped to introduce a deterrent effect on the corruption of the civil service. Set alongside these significant gains, Murray's arguments about the loss to historians look rather feeble.
But what about his more substantive point about the "chilling effect" on policy development. It's hard to know just how many times it will be necessary to repeat the point, but let's just say it once again. Documents related to the policy development process are exempt from FOI. There is no problem.
More research required before you vent, Mr Moore.