The Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland today welcomed the Scottish Executive’s decision not to introduce new restrictions on the amount of information which the public can obtain under Scotland’s Freedom of Information Act.
The Campaign said “we are delighted that the Executive has not followed the UK government in clamping down on freedom of information requests. Scotland’s FOI law has just begun to take root. We need more openness not less. The fact that ministers have decided not to introduce new restrictions is welcome”.
However, the Campaign pointed out that the Executive had said that it would begin “comprehensive work” on examining how the fees regulations were operating – and warned that this could mean that restrictions might still be introduced at a later date.
The Campaign also called on the Executive to accelerate moves to extend the Act to bodies like housing associations. It pointed out that there had been strong pressure to include housing associations in the original bill and said action to widen the scope of the legislation was now long overdue.
1. The results of the Scottish Executive’s review of the operation of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act were announced today (March 15) by Margart Curran, the Minister for Parliamentary Business. See:http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Government/FOI/foireview2005/foireviewintro
2. The UK government is proposing new restrictions to the UK Freedom of Information Act which would make it easier for government departments and for English, Welsh and Northern Ireland public authorities to refuse FOI requests on cost grounds. See:http://www.cfoi.org.uk/feesproposals.html