New FOI Unit Coordinator
Published 24th September 2009, 3:45pm
Following the departure of former coordinator Carole Excell, experienced hands remain at the reins of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Unit. Acting coordinator Natasha Bodden believes that first-hand knowledge of Government's FOI processes, gleaned as the unit's policy analyst, will stand her in good stead as its work continues to evolve. Commenting that she is excited and honoured by the promotion, Ms Bodden adds: "I will strive to ensure that the FOI unit continues to promote transparency and accountability within government, and carries on training civil servants to understand their duties and responsibilities under the Law. Additionally, we are thrilled with the prospect of helping to create data protection legislation for the Cayman Islands, as this goes hand-in-hand with FOI. I look forward to dealing with the challenges of the next few years." The FOI unit, which is part of the Cabinet Office, monitors and supports Government's internal policies, programmes and procedures arising from the ongoing implementation of the Freedom of Information Law. It is also in the initial stages of assisting with the development of data protection legislation to protect the rights of individuals about whom data is obtained, stored, processed or supplied. Staff work closely with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), an independent body that is responsible for educating audiences about the FOI Law, as well as hearing appeals by persons whose requests have not been dealt with to their satisfaction and ensuring that government departments comply with the law. The ICO reports directly to the Legislative Assembly on these matters. Lauding Ms Excell's contributions to the development of FOI in the Cayman Islands, Cabinet Secretary Orrett Connor says that he expects a similarly high standard from Ms Bodden. "Since joining us, Natasha has been closely involved with all aspects of the development of FOI and has worked tirelessly to promote greater transparency in Government. As a trained lawyer who now has considerable experience in policy development, she is well suited to oversee the end stages of the implementation process as well as the transition to a focus on data protection," Mr Connor remarks. In other personnel changes, research officer Aubrey Bodden will act as policy analyst. The small unit also includes senior administrative officer Zara Yates.