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Call to safeguard information rights 10/01/2012 The outgoing Scottish Information Commissioner, Kevin Dunion, will today recommend measures which he believes should be taken to safeguard and strengthen rights to information in Scotland.

Call to safeguard information rights

The outgoing Scottish Information Commissioner, Kevin Dunion, will today recommend measures which he believes should be taken to safeguard and strengthen rights to information in Scotland.

In his final report, 'Informing the Future -The State of Freedom of Information in Scotland', the Commissioner recommends that:

  • additional bodies, such as local authority trusts, should be designated under the Freedom of Information Scotland Act
  • charges which deter requests for information should not be introduced
  • the Commissioner should be empowered to take evidence, under oath if necessary
  • timescales to bring prosecutions for the offence of destroying information after a request for it has been made should be extended.
The Commissioner concludes that, overall, the state of freedom of information in Scotland is still strong. Public awareness of FOI rights is at an all time high and public authorities are generally complying with their obligations. However he warns that appeals against authorities are rising sharply, with appeals for 2011/12 projected to be 25% up on 2010/11. Increasingly, the Commissioner's decisions are finding that authorities have failed to deal with requests correctly.

The Commissioner also makes a final call for action to Ministers to use their powers to designate arm's length organisations, such as local authority trusts and private contractors, which now increasingly provide public services and facilities such as education, health, sports and leisure.

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