Thursday, 13 September 2012

Thousands have lost right to information. Extend FOI

13 Sept 2012 

The Scottish Parliament's Finance Committee heard strong criticism yesterday about how rights to information on public expenditure have been lost.

Scottish Information Commissioner Rosemary Agnew and the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland told MSPs that the public's right to know must be safeguarded by extending FOI laws to cover all public services.

The Press Association reported

"Thousands of people have lost the right to information about how their money is being spent because of a decade of government "delaying tactics", campaigners have said.

Holyrood is considering "technical" amendments to the 10-year-old Freedom of Information Scotland Act (FOISA).
However, freedom of information (FoI) campaigners are incensed that the review will not include the plethora of former public services that now operate outside the law because they have been taken over by arms-length bodies.
There are now 130 arms-length external organisations (ALEOs) delivering public services that have no compulsion to reveal information. Some 15,000 former council tenants that once had the right to know how their money is being spent have been deprived through moving the housing stock out of council control to housing associations.
"That is just one area of public service," Information Commissioner Rosemary Agnew told Holyrood's Finance Committee. "I am disappointed that the opportunity hasn't been taken to have the discussion about how and to where we extend FOISA.""
See also the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland's news release.

UNISON Scotland's evidence to the Finance Committee.


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