On Saturday 21 August the Scottish Information Commissioner will be joined by some of the individuals and organisations who have successfully used Scotland's freedom of information (FOI) laws, to explore the impact that the FOI 'right to information' has had in Scotland. The event, 'Freedom of Information ? What Difference Has It Made?' is part of the Scottish Parliament's 2010 Festival of Politics.

At the event Scottish Information Commissioner Kevin Dunion will discuss what has been achieved by FOI since it came into force in 2005. He will be joined by a panel of people who have successfully used FOI to make a difference in their own communities and beyond. Panelists will include:

  • Sandy Longmuir, who will explain how the Scottish Rural Schools Network has used FOI in its campaigns against rural school closures, even winning a change in the law. 
  • Bill Scott, who will relate how the disabled people's organisation Inclusion Scotland used FOI gather data about the quality of housing available for people with disabilities, leading to the development of new government guidance for authorities.
  • Michelle Stewart, who will discuss how the C Diff Justice Group used FOI to uncover information following the Clostridium Difficile outbreak at the Vale of Leven hospital in 2008, which claimed 18 lives.

Announcing the event, Kevin Dunion, the Scottish Information Commissioner, said:

"In the five short years since FOI came into force, people from all walks of life have been using their rights to request and receive information from Scotland's public bodies. As a result, there has been greater transparency about issues such as public contracts, hospital cleaning, and the expenses of elected representatives. This Festival of Politics event at the Scottish Parliament provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on the successes of FOI, and to hear first-hand from some of the people who have benefited directly from the FOI 'right to know.'"

The event will take place between 13:30 and 14:30 in Committee Room 3 of the Scottish Parliament, on Saturday 21st August 2010. A limited number of tickets, costing only ?1 each, are available by contacting Hub Tickets on 0131 473 2000, or by visiting

You can also watch a short video of Sandy Longmuir talking about his experience using FOI here.

About the Festival of Politics:

  • The Scottish Parliament's Festival of Politics is now in its sixth year. The 2010 Festival of Politics will run from Tuesday 17th to Saturday 21st August, 2010, and features 47 events under the over-arching theme of Changing Politics.
  • For further information on the 2010 Festival of Politics visit


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