Member's bill planned to extend scope of Scottish FoI Act

Housing associations, private prisons and corporations will all be subject to freedom of information (FoI) legislation if a new bill is passed at Holyrood, reports the Sunday Herald.

LibDem MSP Robert Brown is to introduce a member's bill to extend the scope of the Scottish FoI Act to cover many more bodies that deliver public services, overriding many of the exemptions in the 2002 Freedom of Information Scotland Act, including state schools and hospitals.

Top of Brown's list is the Glasgow Housing Association (GHA), Europe's largest social landlord, which was created following the previous Scottish Executive's stock transfer policy.

The LibDem MSP also wants to change the Act so that citizens will find it easier to obtain details of private finance initiative (PFI) projects in their area, reforming the Act's exemption for "commercial confidentiality". Other public bodies to be included in the updated list are the office of the Children's Commissioner, the National Theatre of Scotland and arm's-length leisure companies set up by local authorities.

Bill extending scope of FoI Act finds sympathy from government (Sunday Herald, 20 April 2008)