Scottish Government announces intention to consult on changes to FOI

09 March 2021

The Scottish Government has confirmed it intends to conduct a public consultation early in the next Parliament regarding changes to FOI law in Scotland.

The statement comes in the Government's formal response to a Scottish Parliament committee's report on post-legislative scrutiny of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), published last year. The report recommended that the Government consult on a range of areas including:

  • What organisations should be subject to FOISA
  • What forms of information are covered
  • Record keeping and proactive publication requirements
  • Chargeable fees and upper cost limits
  • Aspects of how public authorities handle requests

The letter accompanying the response acknowledges the committee's considerable time and energy in its year-long review of FOISA, which considered the views of a wide range of organisations and individuals, via more than 50 written submissions and a number of oral evidence sessions.

The Commissioner, Daren Fitzhenry, said: "I'm pleased to note the Minister's detailed response to the committee's recommendations, and look forward to participating in the forthcoming consultation.

"As the committee's report itself acknowledges, the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act has brought significant benefits in terms of greater transparency and accountability, but there are a number of areas where it can be further strengthened. A consultation on these specific aspects will provide an opportunity for anyone with an interest in FOI in Scotland to contribute to the next stage of this important process."

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