- 21 Dec 2017
FOI reference: FOI/17/02907
Date received: 29 November 2017
Date responded: 21 December 2017
What progress the Scottish Government has made in undertaking post-legislative scrutiny of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) and in setting up an independent inquiry into the Scottish Government's handling of FOI requests following the vote in the Scottish Parliament for it to do so on 21 June 2017.
The answer to your question on post-legislative scrutiny, is that it is a matter for the Parliament to determine how to take this forward, although should it go ahead, the Scottish Government will, of course, co-operate fully. The Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee has shortlisted 5 Acts, including FOISA, that will form the basis of of its work programme going forward. Details are published on the Parliament's website.
On an independent inquiry, the Minister for Parliamentary Business, Mr FitzPatrick, has consistently stated his view that it should be for the Scottish Information Commissioner to undertake such an investigation. The following paragraphs set out the current position.
On 11 September, the Convenor of the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee wrote to Mr FitzPatrick, noting that the Commissioner may be an appropriate independent person to undertake an inquiry and asking how the Government intends to give effect to the resolution. A copy of that letter is available on the Parliament's website.
Mr FitzPatrick replied on 4 October, advising that he would shortly meet the new Commissioner, Daren Fitzhenry, and that he would raise the Committee's suggestion that any inquiry be taken forward by his office and keep the Committee informed. A copy of that letter is available on the Parmliament's website.
Following that meeting, Mr Fitzhenry wrote to Mr FitzPatrick on 15 November, confirming that his office has started the process of scoping an expanded intervention to examine the concerns raised in June's Parliamentary Motion. A copy of that letter is available on the Scottish Information Commissioner's website. We are currently awaiting further information on anticipated timelines, as mentioned in the letter.
In the meantime, Mr FitzPatrick replied on 22 November, confirming that the Scottish Government will engage with the Commissioner's office, both in the scoping process and during the intervention itself. A copy of that letter is available on the Scottish Government website.
On the same day, Mr FitzPatrick provided a further letter updating the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee. A copy of that letter is available on the Scottish Government website.
For ease of reference, I have attached copies of each letter mentioned above in the covering email.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House