The Scottish Information Commissioner - It's Public Knowledge

"The public are more interested in what authorities are doing and FOI is their route to find that out."  Donald Henderson, Perth & Kinross Council

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FOI from the beginning ...

Freedom of Information Annual Report 2010/11

As this is the Scottish Information Commissioner?s eighth ? and last - annual report, it is a fitting time to look back over a period which has resulted in Scotland being internationally recognised for the strength of its FOI regime - going, in the space of a decade, from being an aspiration to a fact of Scottish public life.

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FOI Timeline 2002 to 2011 (PDF - 537 kB)

 May Act receives Royal Assent The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Bill becomes and Act of the Scottish Parliament

Jan Laws come into force Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) and the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (the EIRs) come into force
Jan First appeal received Request for childhood leukaemia statistics from the CSA*
Apr First and only Ministerial certificate issued Exempts information regarding the G8 summit at Gleneagles
May Commissioner issues first decision Speed camera information to be disclosed
Dec Surgical mortality rates revealed Commissioner rules that surgical mortality rates should be released

 *CSA - Common Services Agency (also known as NHS National Services Scotland)

 June All MSP expenses published  Scottish Parliament publishes all MSP expenses online
 Dec First court ruling Court of Session rules in favour of Commissioner - CSA ordered to release childhood leukaemia data (Appealed to the House of Lords)


Court finds Ministerial advice can be released

Court of Session agrees that FOISA does not create class exemption for advice/exchange of views
 Sept Authorities becoming more open Research finds that 71% of public authorities report a positive change in culture as a result of FOISA
 Oct Health contract released Commissioner orders release of full PFI contract between NHS Lothian and Consort Healthcare

May Research partnership formed Commissioner and University of Strathclyde join forces to undertake study into low use of FOI by civil society
June Should more bodies be covered? Ministers announce a "discussion exercise" to determine whether to consult on designating new bodies under FOISA
July House of Lords allows appeal House of Lords allows appeal by the CSA, who seek to withhold childhood leukaemia statistics - decision remitted to the Commissioner
 Nov First practice assessment Commissioner's first practice assessment is made - of tie Ltd 
 Dec 78% are aware of FOISA Public awareness has increased from 44% in 2004 to 78%


Centre for Freedom of Information in Scotland opens

Lord Wallace opens the Centre, a partnership between the Commissioner and Dundee Law School
Aug  Commissioner orders release of prison financial model Commissioner orders release of financial model for privately-run Kilmarnock Prison 
Dec Designation consultation announced  Scottish government announces formal consultation on extending FOISA to cover a range of additional bodies 

Jan First phase of civil society research published  Finds that 39% of voluntary sector respondents deterred from using FOISA in case it harms working relations with public authorities
 May Childhood leukaemia statistics released Commissioner issues replacement decision ordering CSA to release childhood statistics in aggregated form which will not identify individuals
 May Can statistics identify sex offenders?  Court of Session remits decision withholding sex offender statistics back to the Commissioner (who orders release in July 2011)
July   Designation consultation commences  Designation consultation commences
July   1,000th decision issued  Scottish Government required to disclose details of meetings of Council of Economic Advisers
Dec   First road show  The Commissioner's first regional road show in Inverness attracts delegates from voluntary organisations in the Highlands

 Jan  Ministers announce designation not going ahead At the same time Ministers announce their intention to introduce a Freedom of Information (Scotland) Amendment Bill 


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