Wales politics

Freedom of information law uncovers decision reports

Kirsty Williams Image copyright Welsh Liberal Democrats
Image caption Kirsty Williams says ministers should be 'ashamed' not to publish the reports themselves

Ministerial decision reports which the Welsh government stopped releasing are now being published by the Welsh Lib Dems under freedom of information law.

First Minister Carwyn Jones told AMs the reports were "incredibly mundane".

But Welsh Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams said Labour ministers "should be ashamed" as her party began publishing the reports online.

The Welsh government was "disappointed" claiming its time and resources were being wasted as it tried to cut costs.

The Lib Dems said the decision reports previously published on the Welsh government website were often used by journalists and opposition parties to scrutinise the actions of ministers.

But a statement on the website in September said the reports would no longer be published for reasons of "streamlining our process for ministerial advice".

The Conservatives accused ministers of "deep paranoia" while Plaid Cymru said it was part of a "worrying trend".

First Minister Carwyn Jones told AMs at the time: "Most of these decision reports that are provided on the website are incredibly mundane, they take up time as far as officials are concerned, and we know money is difficult, and officials' time is more restricted."

Explaining her party's decision to obtain and publish the reports, Ms Williams said: "Welsh Liberal Democrats believe in the principle of open and transparent government.

"Given the ruling Labour party seem intent on wriggling out of any sort of scrutiny, it comes down to Welsh Lib Dems to lift the lid on what they're getting up to in office," she said.

The first batch of 30 statements cover subjects including business finance, schools, poverty, air transport, and the feasibility of bidding to host the Commonwealth Games.

A Welsh government spokesman said the Lib Dems were "perfectly entitled" to ask for the information under the law.

But he added: "While we are managing reducing budgets and working to be more efficient and less bureaucratic, it's disappointing that government time and resources - which could be used for delivering for the people of Wales - is being wasted in this manner.

"We're hiding nothing, but we're more interested in providing the public with the information they want from us."

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