The papers for the Scottish Public Information Forum, held virtually on Thursday 24th September 2020, appear here: The Agenda, Minutes of the meeting of 26th September 2019, report from the Scottish Information Commissioner, report from the Office of the UK Information Commissioner, an update from CFoIS and a CFoIS Briefing on Section 36 of UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill. SPIF is organised to mark International Right to Know Day which takes places on 28th September. Speakers included: Toby Mendel and Laura Notess from the Centre for Law and Democracy on ‘FoI and COVID-19’, Dr David Goldberg on ‘The Council of Europe’s Tromso Convention’, Reports from the Scottish Information Commissioner, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office and the Scottish Government. There were opportunities for questions throughout, and the next confirmed meeting will be held virtually on 1st March 2021.
Here are links to information which can inform and help you form an opinion: the Scottish Information Commissioner – for updates on changes to Scot’s FoI Law; the UK Information Commissioner – for updates on changes to practice under UK FoI Law which relates to FoI rights on reserved issues such as the economy and broadcasting; Scottish Government – for access to official information and read its Blog on ‘opendata‘; to the WHO (World Health Organisation); to the STUC. Scrutiny of the Scottish Government’s response to COVID-19: the Equalities and Human Rights Committee of the Scottish Parliament and by a specially created COVID-19 Committee. Scrutiny of the UK Government’s response is delivered by a range of Committees . The Council of the European Union confirmed on 21st April that it will continue to process requests for documents, doing its best to adhere to the 15 working day timeframe, during the ongoing ‘coronavirus crisis’.
SPIF brings together rights holders, duty bearers, government, the Scottish Information Commissioner and the public around a table twice a year to discuss, equally, the practical enjoyment of access to information rights in Scotland. Learning from each other helps improve understanding and practice across and within sectors.
The next meeting of SPIF has been postponed due to the current official guidance on protecting health. Scheduled to be hosted by Unite the union on 23rd March 2020, instead interim reports will be available online shortly as per the Agenda which is available HERE
The Wheatley Group will host SPIF on 24th September 2020 in Glasgow as, according to Emma Cameron its Information Governance Solicitor, ‘it is a great opportunity to share good practice and learn from each other. This helped me in developing our methodologies for responding to requests for information’.
CFoIS continues to organise SPIF in the public interest, to collaborate and be an asset in the development, delivery and continuous improvement of access to information rights.