By Tony Collins
A judge has ordered the Department for Work and Pensions to release three Universal Credit IT reports that ministers and their officials have spent public money trying to keep out of the public domain.
Judge Chris Ryan and his FOI tribunal panel went further: they concluded that had the reports in question been disclosed at the time they might have corrected misleading government statements about the robust state of the Universal Credit programme.
In their ruling this week the tribunal said that disclosure of the documents,
“might have corrected a false impression, derived from official government statements by revealing the very considerable difficulties that were beginning to develop around the time when the information requests were submitted.”
Two director-level officials at the Department for Work and Pensions had argued that civil servants needed a “safe space” in the reports in question to be candid in their assessments…
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