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News Release: 27 September 2006

International Right to Know Day: Scottish Information Commissioner says "Freedom of Information a success in Scotland"

On International Right to Know Day (28 September 2006) the Scottish Information Commissioner has heralded the successful introduction of freedom of information law in Scotland. He also reported that the number of freedom of information appeals he has received has now reached 1000. This figure exceeds all projections prior to the legislation coming into effect in January 2005, and is indicative of the high volume of requests for information being made to Scottish public authorities.

Kevin Dunion, the Scottish Information Commissioner said:

"The Freedom of Information Act is surely one of the most successful pieces of legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament. Public awareness of the new right to information is high, authorities across Scotland are responding positively to requests and, above all, information is being made public which before now would have been kept secret. Since January 2005, public authorities have in most cases risen to the challenge of FOI; responding to requests by disclosing large amounts of previously unreleased information. On International Right to Know Day, it seems to me that Scotland can be justifiably pleased with the progress we can report.

However, where people do not get the information they have asked for, they have not been slow to use their rights of appeal to me. I have received 1000 appeals since January 2005 and it is through these appeals that the law is tested and better understood.

Although there have been high profile cases as a result of appeals by the press and MSPs, the clear majority of those challenging the decision of authorities to withhold information are ordinary members of the public. Through my decisions they have secured information which affects their everyday life and that of their communities, such as how their jobs are evaluated, contract details on repairs to their homes and even whether speed cameras have been checked for accuracy."

To date, almost two thirds of freedom of information appeals to the Commissioner have been made by members of the public. The second largest group of applicants are solicitors, who generally act on behalf of a client.8% of appeals have been made by representatives of the media.

Ends

For further information contact Claire Sigsworth on 01334 464610, out of hours, 07976 511752


Notes to Editors:

International Right to Know Day

  • Since 2003, 28 September each year has been designated International Right to Know Day. The aim of Right to Know Day is to raise awareness of access to information rights and to promote open and transparent government around the world.

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