Review of FOI laws to be held

Foi request

The Scottish Parliament is due to review Freedom of Information legislation after concerns were made by a third sector-led delegation

15th January 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A review of how Freedom of Information (FOI) requests are handled in Scotland is set to be undertaken.

The Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee has agreed to examine legislation around FOI legislation following concerns over its effectiveness.

In a round-table session held with stakeholders in March last year, the committee heard that concerns over the legislation include a lack of information being provided proactively, unnecessary secrecy in government, and the use of stalling tactics in providing information.

The committee is now asking for further views on the legislation to be submitted.

Convener Jenny Marra said: “Stakeholders have told the committee that they have a number of concerns about the scope of the Freedom of Information Act and compliance with it.

“Our committee will examine the act and will take evidence from a wide range of groups on how freedom of information can be strengthened and modernised to improve transparency in our public services.”

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) has led a delegation to the committee raising concerns, and has stressed the importance of accountability.

Head of policy and public affairs Ruchir Shah said: “SCVO recently led a delegation of Open Government Network members to the Scottish Parliament to discuss our concerns that the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 is being undermined in Scotland.

“While we welcome the decision by the committee to review FOI law, we still have a long way to go in Scotland to secure the transparency and accountability from powerful institutions in the public, private and third sectors that the public deserve.”