A Freedom Too Far?

It’s as if Mel Gibson shouted “FREEDOM (of information legislation)!” at the end of Braveheart. The Scottish Government is proposing that Freedom of Information legislation should be extended to cover a wider range of bodies which deliver public services in Scotland, making Scotland the most “open” country in the UK.

Further bodies can be “designated”, or brought under the scope of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 through powers set out in section 5 of the Act. According to the Scottish Government, bodies should only be considered for inclusion in a section 5 order where they undertake significant work of a public nature or receive significant public funding.

The specific bodies so far identified are building contractors on large public projects; private prison operators; leisure and culture trusts set up by local authorities; the Glasgow Housing Association; and the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland. Consultation with these bodies will take place in spring 2010.

In most cases it’s a fair cop (geddit).

However, the addition of “building contractors” private prison operators and leisure trusts seems uneccessary because information they have/generate in relation to a public sector contract is probably already caught under existing FOI legislation.

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January 2010
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