The government has been ordered to publish its assessments on the impact of national lockdowns and Covid restrictions after resisting making them public, The Independent can reveal.
Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) officials drew up documents predicting how changing coronavirus rules would affect different groups but they have so far been kept secret.
The Liberty human rights group requested the equality impact assessments under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, but was refused and told releasing them would “not be in the public interest”.
It accused the government of “evading scrutiny and undermining accountability” over its use of unprecedented restrictions.
The information commissioner has now ordered the government to publish the documents and rejected arguments that they should remain secret to “protect the policy process”.
“The commissioner’s decision is that DHSC is not entitled to rely on section 35(1)(a) of the FOI Act – formulation or development of government policy – to withhold the requested information,” said a decision notice seen by The Independent.