Consultation: Reducing the 30 year rule to 15 years

The Scottish Government is asking whether information held by public authorities could be made available for public viewing earlier than is currently the case.

That is the question being asked by Minister for Parliamentary Business Bruce Crawford as the Scottish Government invites views on proposals to reduce the lifespan of certain exemptions in the Freedom of Information Scotland Act (FOISA) from 30 years to 15 years.

The consultation follows the recent decision by Scottish Ministers to open Scottish Government files from the period 1979 to 1994, 15 years earlier than has previously been the case.

Mr Crawford said: "The Scottish Government is committed to the principles that underpin Freedom of Information legislation. That is why I announced last month that we would make available, from later this year, Scottish Government files which would otherwise have remained secret for up to 30 years - files which cover, among other things, the first devolution proposals and the introduction of the poll tax.

"I believe there is a case for extending that approach to all public authorities who are subject to the legislation. However I am clear that it is important to seek views on the extent of any changes. That is why our consultation paper asks a number of questions - and the responses we receive will help determine our next steps."

This consultation seeks views on whether the lifespan of certain 'exemptions' in FOISA should be reduced from 30 years to 15 years. This would allow information to be available at an earlier date.

Responses to the consultation are invited by September 30.

Consultation by Scottish Ministers on reducing the term of certain exemptions within the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (Scottish Government website)

Scottish Government considers releasing public sector information earlier, under FOI
(, 7 July 2009)