Scotland moves to strengthen freedom of information legislation
The Scottish Government has moved to strengthen its freedom of information legislation. The new bill would bring all the country's public authorities in line with the current Scottish Government's policy of publishing all closed historical records after 15 years rather than 30.
The bill will also make it easier to bring a prosecution against an organisation which has deliberately altered, destroyed or concealed requested information.
Minister for parliamentary business Brian Adam said it was 10 years since Scotland the Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) 2002 had received Royal Assent. "The Act is widely recognised as playing a significant part in making Scotland a more open, transparent and accountable society and as having been successfully implemented since coming into force in 2005.
"Our proposed bill will allow for greater flexibility in reducing the lifespan of exemptions, paving the way for more information to be made public earlier. The bill also makes the legislation stronger by making more effective the ability to bring a prosecution where requested information has been deliberately altered, destroyed or concealed.
"The Scottish Government supports freedom of information as an essential part of open democratic government and responsive public services. We can be proud of our record in terms of compliance and proactive publication."
He said the changes demonstrated the government's commitment to openness and transparency which is seen as an integral part of effective public administration.
Adam also announced the addition of an A-Z index to the Scottish Government's website. The index is intended to enable easier access to information published online by the Scottish Government, and demonstrates the huge amount and range of information already available on the website.