How do you feel about this?
Do you feel the public should have the right to view the contents of this document or are you confident that our politicians should decide what we can or cannot see?
Dear Mr. Bluffield,
Thank you for contacting me about the debate concerning the Department of Health's risk register.
I do appreciate your interest in this information and with such good healthcare provision in Milton Keynes I do understand the worry that is being caused by the upcoming changes.
The Department of Health has already published risks relating to the Health and Social Care Bill in the Combined Impact Assessment, updated on 8 September 2011, which can be found at the following address http://www.dh.gov.uk by searching for "combined impact assessments."
It is important to note that risk registers detail the worst-case scenarios-both actual and theoretical. For this reason, it would not be in the public interest to release risk registers as they would place a misleading emphasis on the negative aspects of policy which could cause public debate to be focused on these worst-case scenario risks however unlikely they may be. Additionally, releasing these risks could increase the likelihood of their occurrence.
The decision would have significant implications and set a precedent for all departments and future governments. It is for these reasons that during the course of the last Government requests to see risk registers were declined in July 2008, in September 2008, and in September 2009.
I assure you that the government is committed to departmental transparency. Since the Coalition has come to power, the Department of Health has published more information on how it runs, including salaries above £150,000, departmental spending data, all new government ICT contracts, all new central government tender documents for contracts over £10,000, new items of central departmental spending over £25,000, Government Procurement Card transactions over £500 and all new central departmental contracts are to be published in full.
The Department has sought to expedite the process of appeal, and as a result, the Tribunal has been moved forward from 5 April to 6 March.
I hope this information is useful and thank you again for taking the time to contact me.