The Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland (CFoIS) was set up in 1984 by the Scottish Consumer Council to win the right of public access to official information. CFoIS believes in right of people to find out about how they are governed and how their services are delivered. CFoIS has been involved in all the major legislative developments at a Scottish level. On 16th September 2021, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) accepted CFoIS as an organisation which meets the charity test and the legal requirements for being a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO). Our charity number is SC051263.
CFoIS has built alliances to achieve cultural, organisational and operational change and works to: ensure access to information laws are implemented effectively; deliver training to improve practice and make rights accessible; provide briefings, write responses to consultations, undertake research and offer comment/analysis; campaign on new and emerging issues requiring changes in practice/law as the rights of people and the practice of government are not static. CFoIS asserts that access to information rights, transparency and accountability are rooted in international human rights law.
CFoIS is happy to work with rights holders to ensure the equal enjoyment of rights as well as working with duty bearers so that their compliance is robust. CFoIS invites you to support our work so we can effectively face the challenges and capitalise on the opportunities in Scotland.
Susan Coughtrie joined CFoIS in 2019. Susan is the Director of the Foreign Policy Centre and previously was its Project Director for “Unsafe for scrutiny: How journalists around the world investigating financial crimes in UK jurisdictions face risks to their freedom and security from vexatious lawsuits (SLAPP) to violence”. Until 2018, Susan spent seven years working for ARTICLE 19 where she developed projects across the Eurasia region on topics including access to information, safety of journalists, restrictions to freedom of expression online and countering hate speech. She has also worked for the NGOs Reach All Women in WAR based in London and the Centre for Independent Media in Moldova.
Carole Ewart, the Chief Officer, joined CFoIS in 1999. She also works as a public policy and human rights consultant. Carole is a member of the ‘Access Info’ International Advisory Board and Board of Directors, and is a member of the Project Board of the Jimmy Reid Foundation which is an independent ‘think tank’ for progressive policy in Scotland. Since September 2022, she has worked one day per week in the office of Katy Clark MSP in a non-party political role, to support the work of introducing a member’s Bill to the Scottish Parliament to reform FoISA.
Dr David Goldberg, Chair has worked as a volunteer for the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland since 1984. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School (LA), a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts etc and gained a PhD by prior publication in 2012 from GCU.
Dr Derek Manson Smith, Treasurer has worked as a volunteer with the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland since 1985. He was the co-convener from 1999 to 2013. During that time, he organised training courses on the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 for staff from public authorities in Scotland and carried out research for the Scottish Information Commissioner on FoISA before and after the act came into force. Until he retired, he worked as an information research consultant for 30 years. His publications for lay readers included: ‘What’s on My Record? A practical guide to your rights of access to personal information’ for the Scottish Consumer Council, 1995–2007; ‘Your Right to Know: a guide to freedom of information law in Scotland’, draft for the Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner, 2005.
Mandy Reid, Secretary joined CFoIS in 2018. Mandy is the Business Manager for the Scottish Union of Supported Employment. Mandy has worked for 40 years in the Third Sector in Scotland in a number of paid and unpaid roles, including serving on the Board of several organisations and working as an Advocate, Information Officer, and Policy/Research Officer. Mandy’s areas of particular expertise include Communication For All (Inclusive Communication and Accessible Information); promoting human rights and rights based practice; closing the gap between equality policy and practice; and undertaking research informed by the experiences of the people who use and experience service provision across reserved and devolved areas of government. She has consistently used (freedom of) information requests to highlight the lack of inclusive services for minority groups in order to evidence the need for better provision.