Commissioner publishes Annual Report

The Scottish Information Commissioner has published his annual report for 2006-7.

65% of appeals to Mr Dunion's office in the past year have been from members of the public - a rise of 10%. While two-thirds of requests for information under the law were from journalists in the first few months following the implementation of the FOI Act, that has now dropped to 8%.

The commissioner has ruled in favour of the local authority in 108 cases and in favour of the applicant in 144 cases. The remaining applications were either invalid on technicalities or withdrawn.

The Scotsman reports that campaigners and experts have warned that Scottish public life remains shrouded in secrecy despite the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act.
This is reflected by the fact that more than 500 people had been forced to appeal to the Commissioner last year after having their requests for information turned down by public authorities in Scotland. That number of appeals is twice as many as in England per head of population, a figure which campaigners said suggested Scotland's public bodies were not as ready as they should be to release information.

Mr Dunion said that while most public bodies are now operating within the letter of the law and are complying with many Freedom of Information requests, they have not changed their cultures to embrace the spirit of the law.

Welcome to secret Scotland (The Scotsman, 8 March 2007)

Finally free to throw open the files (The Herald, 7 March 2007)

Annual Report (Scottish Information Commissioner's website)


Tony Swanson said...

As one of the comments on the Scotsman website points out, if you unspin the statistics that the Scottish Information Commissioner presents a totally different story emerges.

"In 43% of cases he found for the authority, in 22% for the applicant and in 35% he rules partially each way. So in 78% he found totally or partly for the authority."

So much for changing the culture of secrecy.