The Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland (CFoIS) today (Monday) urged the Scottish Parliament to back the Stage 1 Report produced by its Finance Committee, criticising the Scottish Government’s Freedom of Information (Scotland) Amendment Bill. The Committee called for the proposed ‘absolute’ exemption for correspondence with the Monarch and her heirs to be dropped, and for amendments to be introduced to ensure FOI rights extend to public services provided by private, voluntary and arms-length bodies.
The CFoIS wants the Scottish Government to heed the findings of the SNP-dominated committee. Carole Ewart, Co-Convener of the CFoIS, said:
“We were delighted that the Finance Committee came to a cross-party decision to oppose the introduction of a new absolute exemption, and called on the Scottish Government to urgently consider amendments extending coverage to protect the public’s right to know. It is now time for the Scottish Government to respond positively to that call.”
Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining and Campaigns for UNISON Scotland said:
“It is deeply concerning, at a time when Audit Scotland estimates over 130 arms-length bodies involved in public services, and when the Scottish Government is proposing bills like the Procurement, and Community Empowerment Bills that will bring more bodies into public service delivery, that they seem oblivious to the threats these pose to everyone’s right to know about how our cash is spent.”
The CFoIS and UNISONScotland are running a briefing in the Scottish Parliament on 14 November, the day before the the full Parliamentary debate. The meeting will be chaired by Willie Rennie MSP, and addressed by Carole Ewart of the CFoIS and Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining and Campaigns for UNISON Scotland.
For Further Information contact:
Carole Ewart (Co-Convener – Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland)
or Chris Bartter (Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland) 07715 583 729
Note to editors:
A copy of the briefing sent to MSPs in advance of the debate is available on the CFOIS website athttp://www.cfoi.org.uk/pdf/foisa(amendment)billstage1brief.pdf