In these circumstances how can we have any confidence that the advice which the Government is given is broad enough to allow them to manage risks on our behalf? We urgently need a new body of public law. A possible model is the post-war "access laws" in the United States. These laws are designed to prevent the capture of government agencies by organised interests, to require balance in their membership, to give the public right of access to meetings and documents and to provide safeguards against conflicts of interest. Such laws would, of course, include a Freedom of Information Act.
The BSE crisis illustrates not just a specific failure by a government but a systemic failure. Unless radical reforms are introduced that provide a proper framework of accountability, more such disasters are inevitable.
Director, Charter 88
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