The Information Commissioner is set to pave the way to make the private email accounts of those in government FoI-able. Given that most SpAds and Ministers are sick of civil servants snooping around and leaking things before decisions have even been made, government by GMail is widespread in Whitehall. Someone told the Guardian: “Everyone is shitting bricks at the implications. It looks as if they are going to say Post-it notes are disclosable. There is going to be material on the budget, Libyan strategy, everything.” One senior Downing Street staffer, quick to eschew convention, has given up on official emails completely:
From: Steve Hilton firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 10:41 AM
Subject: Out of Office AutoReply:
Thank you for your email – Please note, Steve does not access his No.10 emails.
If you require a response please contact ███████ █████ █████@no10.x.gsi.gov.uk or via the No.10 Switchboard on 020 █████ █████.
Assistant Private Secretary to Steve Hilton
For latest news and information from Downing Street visit: http://www.number10.gov.uk
Help save paper – do you need to print this email?
“Steve does not access his No.10 emails.” Guido refuses to believe that the Downing Street Director of Strategy never sends emails related to his work. It’s right that we are able to see the decision making that is currently off the books.