I’m reporting some really good news on the functioning of our democracy in these difficult time of Covid-19.
I raised, as all citizens can, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request with the Department of Health recently on the subject of the publication of the minutes of the The National Obesity Policy Implementation Oversight Group (OPIOG). This group, under the Chair of the Department of Health – is comprised of representatives from a range of Government Departments and Agencies including the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.
The Department asked me to consider withdrawing my FOI request owing to the pressure on the resources caused by Covid-19. I was glad to do so, mentioning that I planned to re-introduce my request later in the year. To my great surprise, the Department has now released these minutes to me and you can find them on the following link:
I confess that I have been critical of recent of the transparency in relation to the reporting of progress on the government’s 2016-2025 plan to tackle obesity, and, equally important, the social gradient and inequalities associated with obesity. Whilst I still have some reservations on the subject, the release of these minutes is a clear signal of (i) the recognition of the importance of transparency in this area and (ii) the recognition that, in the context of Covid-19, that obesity and its related social inequalities is an important matter for citizens to consider.
Well done the Department of Health!