By Tony Collins
A government-commissioned review yesterday backed a Bill that could, if enacted and applied to Whitehall generally, prevent billions of pounds being lost on wasteful projects.
The Public Authority Accountability Bill – known informally as the Hillsborough Law – would establish an offence of intentionally or recklessly misleading the public, media or court proceedings.
It would also impose a legal requirement on public authorities to act with candour, transparency and frankness when things go wrong.
Although the Bill was a reaction, in part, to the cover up by public authorities of their failings in the light of Hillsborough, it could, if enacted, deter public authorities from covering up failings generally – including on major IT programmes.
For decades public authorities have had the freedom – unrestricted by any legislation – to cover up failures and issue misleading statements to the public, Parliament and the media.
In the IT sphere, early problems with the Universal Credit IT programme were kept secret and misleadingly positive…
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