Following a consultation last year by the Scottish Government, the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) was recently extended to cover more organisations.
The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (Designation of Persons as Scottish Public Authorities) Order 2016, S.I. 2016/139, came into force on 2nd March 2016. It is made under Section 5 of FOISA. It comes into force on 1st September 2016.
The Order extends coverage of FOISA to contractors overseeing and managing private prisons, bodies providing secure accommodation for children and young people, grant-aided schools, independent special schools and Scottish Health Innovations Limited. These bodies also become subject to the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 in relation to any requests they receive for environmental information.
This is the second order brought forward under Section 5 of FOISA; the first came into force on 1 April 2014 and covers arms-length culture, sport and leisure trusts established by local authorities.
Freedom of Information in Scotland seems to sail in much more calmer waters than in the rest of the UK where the FOI Act comes under intense scrutiny (some say “attack’) from politicians from time to time. The Independent Commission on Freedom of Information was established by the Cabinet Office in July last year to examine the operation of the FOI Act and whether it required any changes. Its recent report says FOI is working well and does not need major changes. However, it does make twenty-one recommendations.
Think you know about FOISA? Have a go at the FOISA test.
Looking for a FOISA qualification? Our Practitioner Certificate in the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 is the only certificated course specially designed for FOI practitioners in Scotland. It is endorsed by the Centre for FOI based at Dundee University
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