Covid-19 FOI UpdateBriefing on the FOI provisions of the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill

31 March 2020

On 31 March 2020 the Scottish Government introduced the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill, in response to the emergency situation caused the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.

Schedule 6 Part 2 of this Bill contains a number of provisions which temporarily amend the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. The main purpose of these provisions is to temporarily extend the 20 working day statutory time period that Scottish public authorities have to respond to FOI requests, while also enabling the Scottish Information Commissioner to take matters relating to Covid-19 into acccount where a Scottish public authority has failed to meet the FOI timescales.

Also on 31 March, the Commissioner's office submitted a briefing to MSPs on the Freedom of Information provisions contained in the Bill.

Our briefing recognises the need for an urgent response to the current pandemic to support Scottish public authorities, while also setting out some key areas for comment and concern around certain aspects of Schedule 6 Part 2 of the Bill. We also provide an appendix detailing suggested additional technical changes to the Bill.

The Commissioner also recognises the extremely challenging timeline in which scrutiny of the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill is taking place.

The Commissioner's briefing on the Bill is published in full below.

SIC Briefing on the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill (PDF - 485KB)

 

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