It absolutley wouldn’t. A lot of OIAs are made by students and the interested public.
Case in point: this exercise by student Matthew Taylor. A must-read if you haven't already.
But I’m not convinced that increasing charges would be good for transparency.
No it won't, and here it's to the credit of the Ombudsmen's Office that there's been some pointed throat-clearing and eyebrow twitching over departments presenting large invoices for staff time, collation and photocopying. :) The Act could do with a tune-up on that score, I suspect, because it's more lack of consistency and (perhaps) a little more ambiguity in the law than is ideal rather than Sir Humphrey-esque use-pays malice. :)
Thanks for mentioning my blog. I had thought about openness, but I was following Seth Kreimer's work on transparency. I also wanted to tie into the "Transparency Agenda" which is the current coalition government's approach.
The FOIA reforms may be a stalking horse in that the work may raise issues, but not lead to fundamental changes. In many ways, it may just test the water for the need for other legislation or other initiatives. From a public perception front, it would be hard for a coalition government, which campaigned on openness and transparency (especially of its hardly veiled criticism of Blair) to row back on FOIA. However, politics is a strange game. :)
I will be very interested to see how the public records act compliance audits succeed. If they have the desired effect (easy for any side to take it to their advantage with a bit of political judo), they may find their way to the UK.
On the wider issue of transparency (or openess) and he political regime, I would be interested in any comments on my paper regarding FOIA in the UK.
Making Power Speak: the Power of Freedom of Information from a Practitioner's Perspective