Public Law

Emma posted before Christmas about the Scottish Government’s consultation on the draft Freedom of Information (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill, which proposes very limited changes to the current legislation. Meanwhile, the current Scottish Information Commissioner – Kevin Dunion – leaves office next month. As a parting gift, he has made a report to the Scottish Parliament on how he thinks FOISA could be improved.

Needless to say, the Commissioner would have gone further than the Scottish Government is proposing to do in the Amendment Bill. Mr Dunion’s views on extending FOISA to include bodies it does not already cover (an issue on which the Scottish Government consulted but declined to act) have been well known for some time, and certainly feature in the report. However, public authorities may also be interested in his views on other changes he believes should be made, and in his observations (for example, at page 11) on how public authorities can improve compliance with FOISA and reduce the number of requests that end up being appealed to the Commissioner’s office.

The Scottish Government’s consultation on the Amendment Bill is open for responses until 8 March, and no doubt the Commissioner will be making his own contribution to that. His recent report gives a preview of the kinds of changes he might be recommending.

Charles Livingstone

Partner at Brodies LLP
Charles works with a broad range of commercial, public sector, charitable and individual clients, advising them on public law issues including judicial review, human rights, information law and the powers and duties of local and other public authorities. He is named by Chambers & Partners in both Competition Law and Administrative & Public Law.
Charles Livingstone

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