Public Sector News

 

FOI scrutiny extended

More organisations across Scotland will be open to scrutiny under Freedom of Information legislation,  Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

Arm's length bodies established by local authorities to provide cultural, sports and leisure activities to the public will now be made subject to FOI law by the introduction of secondary legislation.

Ms Sturgeon said this would be the first step in a staged approach to extend Freedom of Information to similar  bodies set up by councils across Scotland.

In addition, the new legislation will pave the way for making more information available to the public earlier. 

Ms Sturgeon said:

"It is important that bodies which spend taxpayers' money are subject to scrutiny, including through Freedom of Information legislation.

"That is why this Government is committed to extending coverage where it is appropriate to do so, subject to consultation.

"The fact that we are moving to extend the scope of coverage to more organisations reflects our commitment to continuously improving Scotland's transparency.  This is the first step in a phased process, which will see us progressively increase FOI coverage to many bodies created by local authorities. 

"We have carefully considered the views of the Finance Committee, the Scottish Information Commissioner and other stakeholders, and the amendments we have lodged at stage 2 and stage 3 of this Bill will help to make our procedures here in Scotland even stronger.

"Scotland already has the most robust Freedom of Information regime in the whole of the UK.  It is my aim to ensure that this continues, and that we have a transparency system that paves the way and sets an example for other nations to aspire to."