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Monday 26 September 2016
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DH to respond to risk register ruling 'within six weeks'

The DH is expected to release its official response to the judge's full explanation of its decision to force the government to release its Health Bill's transitional risk register by the end of May. 

DH lawyers are busy poring through the full and detailed explanation in a bid to figure out the next steps. 

The document has heaped yet more pressure on the Department following a long and fraught battle to enshrine the controversial bill into law.

In what was a unanimous decision by the courts on the 9 March, Principal Judge Professor John Angel said the bill's transitional risk register "would have provided the public with a far better understanding of the risks to a national insititution, which millions depend on." 

"This is a difficult case [as] the public interest factors for and against disclosure are particularly strong," wrote Professor Angel. 

"We find the weight we give to the need for transparency and accountability in the circumstances of this case to be very weighty indeed. 

"We find that at the time the TRR was requested and the DOH dealt with the application of the public interest test, the public interest in maintaining the s.35(1)(a) exemption did not outweigh the public interest in disclosure." 

A DH spokesman confirmed the document had been received and expected a response to be given "within six weeks". 

"We are now examining the judgment given by the Information Tribunal," they said. 

"We are working closely with colleagues across government and we will set out our next steps as soon as we are able to."