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Image of runnersCommissioner welcomes move to bring cultural and leisure bodies under FOI 

News release: 7 June 2013

The Scottish Information Commissioner has today welcomed new legislation to bring bodies delivering culture, leisure or social activities on behalf of Scottish local authorities under Scotland's access to information laws by April 2014.

Scottish Ministers laid an order before the Scottish Parliament today which, if approved, will redress an inequality of information rights in Scotland, and make more bodies delivering public functions accountable to the public they serve.

As things currently stand, the public's legal right to information about their culture and leisure services depends on where they are located.  In areas where services are provided directly by the local council, they have a legal right - where these services have been outsources to a separate leisure organisation, often they don't.

Rosemary Agnew said:

"I welcomed Cabinet Secretary Nicola Sturgeon's announcement in January that she intended to widen the scope of the FOI to bodies delivering cultural and leisure services.  I'm pleased to see Ministers carry through on that commitment.  The power to designate bodies in this way gives Ministers a means to ensure that rights to information keep up with changes in how public functions are delivered in Scotland.

"Designating cultural and leisure bodies is a great start, and my office will provide support to those bodies who will be covered.  I encourage the Cabinet Secretary to continue to look at where designating bodies will help improve transparency in the delivery of Scotland's public functions.  For our part, we will be developing our own views on appropriate approaches to designating new bodies, and I'll be sharing the outputs of this exercise via a Special Report to Parliament later this year."

Ends

For further information contact the Commissioner's Media Team on 01334 464610, out of hours on 07976 511752, or email media@itspublicknowledge.info

Notes to Editors:
About designation
  • Section 5 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (the Act) gives Scottish Ministers the power to designate as a public authority for the purposes of the Act, bodies which appear to exercise functions of a public nature, or that provide, under contract to a Scottish public authority, a service which is a function of that authority.
  • View Full text of section 5.
  • Under the new order, bodies established by one of more Scottish local authority to develop and/or deliver recreational, sporting, cultural and/or social facilities and activities, will be subject to all the provisions of both the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, and the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004, from 1 April 2014.
  • The full text of the order will be published on 10 June in the Scottish Parliament's Business Bulletin.
  • During the passage of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Amendment Bill in 2012, the Commissioner supported the extension of the FOI Act to cover additional bodies.
  • The Commissioner's predecessor also supported the extension of legislation to cover culture and leisure bodies when the Scottish Minister consulted on this in 2010.
  • Copies of all our submissions are on our website here: Other Reports of the Scottish Information Commissioner
About the Scottish Information Commissioner
  • The Scottish Information Commissioner is a public official appointed by Her Majesty the Queen on the nomination of the Scottish Parliament.
  • The Commissioner is responsible for promoting Scotland's freedom of information laws.
  • The Commissioner: investigates applications and issues legally enforceable decisions; promotes good practice amongst public authorities; and provides the pubic with information on their rights.
  • The current Scottish Information Commissioner is Rosemary Agnew: The Scottish Information Commissioner's biography

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