Freedom of Information (FOI) handling – progress report: letter to Scottish Information Commissioner

Letter from Minister from Parliamentary Business responding to updated report on the Scottish Government’s FOI handling performance.

To: Daren Fitzhenry, Scottish Information Commissioner
Minister for Parliamentary Business, George Adam

Thank you for sharing your latest progress report with me.

Scotland has the most open and far-reaching Freedom of Information legislation in the UK and the Scottish Government remains committed to our obligations under the Act to ensure openness and transparency. In recent months our performance levels have returned to and exceeded pre-covid levels, averaging a response rate of 97% despite request numbers increasing by 60% since 2019.

I was pleased to see that achievement recognised in the new report, and in your optimism that the Scottish Government is on the right track for concluding the intervention.

The considerable increase in caseload, and the challenges of the pandemic, have impacted both our performance and our ability to rapidly resolve the issues that arose from both, and which you illustrate so frankly. I am confident that our new initiatives have set us on the right path and I will continue to support the improvement of FOI/EIR practice across the organisation.

We accept all of your recommendations in principle, and my team and I will now take time to review the report and its findings in more detail, ahead of publishing an updated FOI improvement plan by the end of this year.

I note that this report has been issued as you prepare to stand down as Scottish Information Commissioner. May I record my sincere thanks for the commitment, rigour and intelligence you have brought to this role and wish you all the best for the future.

Read: Scottish Government Intervention Progress Report, October 2023 (Scottish Information Commissioner website)


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