It’s public knowledge – or is it?

This week SLIC and CILIPS have been engaged in drafting a response to the Scottish Government consultation on proposals for a Freedom of Information (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill. The consultation follows an earlier exercise to determine what should be included in amendment legislation.

In common with the outgoing Scottish Information Commissioner SLIC and CILIPS argued for the inclusion of additional bodies, such as local authority trusts to be designated under FOI(S)A legislation but the latest proposal suggests only two technical amendments and not the hoped for extension of coverage of the Act.

Scotland’s Information Commissioner, Kevin Dunion,  who will demit office later this month, contends that the state of freedom of information in Scotland is still strong but acknowledges there is more to be done. His final report  is well worth a read in the context of the current consultation and what is and is not a ‘designated body’ as that is where our concerns lie.

SLIC and CILIPS will continue to advocate for extending peoples’ information rights. We would like the loop to be closed on anomalies such as that experienced by residents of one local authority who lost the legal right to ask for information about their leisure services in 2009 when leisure services was outsourced to a trust. We remain optimistic that the Scottish Government will extend our ‘right to know’ in a future parliamentary session.

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