FOI debate in the Scottish Parliament

On 2nd November 2005 a debate was held in the Scottish Parliament on the early days of the implementation of the FOI Act.

Parliamentary Business Minister, Margaret Curran, said:

"The Executive enthusiastically introduced this legislation. It is a principle of good governance that shows we are as open and transparent as possible. This encourages the machinery of government into behaviours that are more open, outward looking and inclusive. Our aim is to empower the ordinary citizen, to allow them access to information that is important to themselves and their local communities. That is what we are looking to achieve here - a shift in culture from a presumption of secrecy to a recognition of the public's right to know.

"The public are becoming confident in their use of FOI - that confidence will increase as they see its potential to hold to account those with powers and influence. And while the early days show there have been many successes - more than 5,000 government files are now available for public inspection at the National Archives of Scotland which normally would have been kept closed for 30 years or more for example - there is also evidence that things could be better.

"We are already committed to reviewing the operation of FOI, in particular, considering whether to extend the list of bodies subject to the Act and the level and operation of the fees. I want that review to take a thorough look at the early experiences of FOI and we will be seeking views later this year and into 2006 from public authorities, users, campaigning groups, and the whole range of stakeholders to feed into what I see as "fine tuning" which will enable continued successful implementation of FOI in Scotland."

Press release: Debate of Freedom Of Information (Scottish Executive website, 2 November 2005)

Official Report: Complete transcript of the debate (Scottish Parliament website, 2 November 2005)