Campaigners have called on ministers to be banned from using their personal mobiles to carry out official business.
According to reports from the i, the Institute for Government (IfG) in its inquiry into “government by WhatsApp” said that the growing use of the messaging platform risked “poor decisions”.
The think-tank also suggested that it would be difficult to bring Whitehall’s decisions and activities under scrutiny, and hold them to account.
Guidance already says that only official phones should be used for business, and the IfG said it was “unacceptable” that this rule is broken.
The group told the newspaper: “Messaging apps risk poor decisions being made with incomplete information. Instant messaging may be quick, but it is a superficial way to make decisions. Unlike formal written submissions, presentations, discussions and even emails, WhatsApp encourages short messages that do not allow for much detail or nuance, which risks key information, perspectives or challenge being missed.”
It comes after the government admitted this week that none of Boris Johnson’s messages from his mobile phone prior to April 2021 are available following The Good Law Project’s legal challenge into the use of private communication channels by the government.
The lack of transparency has proven problematic for many campaigners, given the current ‘Partygate’ investigation, as well as the future inquiry into the Government’s response to the pandemic.
The Good Law Project’s legal claim has made it to the High Court, with the core argument focusing on the threat to national security.