Scottish Government publishes FOI consultation, delays reform

28/11/2023 | Scottish Government

The Scottish government has released its response to the analysis of responses gathered from its consultation on Access to Information Rights in Scotland. The government has decided not to introduce a Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill right away and has instead opted for secondary reforms and further consultations. One of the reforms being considered is extending FOI designation to private and third sector-run care homes, but this will only happen after the delayed National Care Service Bill has been passed.

The Herald claims SNP ministers are accused of more secrecy by refusing to overhaul FOI rules. Last month, the outgoing Scottish Information Commissioner, Daren Fitzhenry, said it was disappointing that this was still ongoing.

Meanwhile, Scottish Legal News reports that Scottish Labour MSP Katy Clark also expressed her disappointment with the proposals, calling them "weak, timid and far from what the public is calling for". In response, she plans to lodge her final proposal next week to seek the right to introduce a FOI Reform Bill. Clark has been advocating for this for over three years now, and she believes that public information should follow the public pound. She also criticized the Scottish government for kicking the can down the road yet again.

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