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Scotland’s ICO envisions FoIA future

Kevin Dunion, Scotland’s soon-to-depart Information Commissioner, has suggested that the FoIA be ammended in a number of ways to ensure it continues to be a useful piece of legislation.

The Times, The Herald, The Sun, The Telegraph and The Scotsman all report that Mr Dunion’s report Informing The Future is criticising the government’s lack of commitment to its original plans.

He told MSPs today that the Freedom of Information Act needs to be extended to make more public bodies open to scrutiny. “The MSPs promised, when the act was coming into effect, that it would be extended to cover more organisations, and 10 years on we are still waiting for that. I just want to remind them of that,” he said.

The Herald reported that he also suggested the next Information Commissioner should have extra powers, including the ability to demand evidence under oath, to prevent public bodies right up to the Scottish Government backsliding on their obligations.

Mr Dunion warned that transparency in Scotland would be undermined if FoIA was not applicable to private companies who are sub-contracted by public bodies to carry out public sector work.

His other suggestions include an extension of the timescale for the prosecution of those destroying evidence and resistance to the imposition of charges.

Mr Dunion will appear today before Holyrood’s Justice Committee to discuss his final report on the Freedom of Information.

McDonalds among the private bodies who might become subject to FoIA

Over 150 private bodies awarding qualifications including McDonald’s may become subject to Freedom of Information requests, BBC’s Martin Rosenbaum reports. If that happens, requests should only relate to their role as awarders of qualifications and wouldn’t extend to other areas.

The journalist also reports the Upper Tribunal is examining today Fish Legal’s appeal in a case involving three private water companies, Southern Water, Yorkshire Water and United Utilities. All companies claim they’re not covered by the Environmental Information Regulations as the campaign group claims.

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