Prospective Ministerial Certificate issued under Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act

The first prospective ministerial certificate has been created by the Scottish Executive which exempts from release details of any preparations for the G8 summit on the basis of national security.

Police forces, health boards, councils and government agencies and departments which might hold any information "in connection with the preparation and provision of security" for the G8 summit have effectively been issued with a blanket exemption from disclosing it under freedom of information legislation.

The certificate was signed by Margaret Curran, Minister for Parliamentary Business, to prevent any FoI requests from the public, media and protesters and applies indefinitely, although it could be reviewed in future. It has not been laid before the Scottish Parliament nor copied to MSPs. The certificate is held to be conclusive proof that national security is at stake and there is no opportunity to appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner.

Opposition MSPs have accused the Executive of ignoring the spirit of FoI legislation and "cancelling democracy". Mark Ballard, of the Scottish Greens, stated: "The spirit of FoI is that information should be available unless there is a specific reason, so I'm concerned at this blanket measure. "

Veil of official secrecy imposed on G8 (The Herald, 7 June 2005)