Freedom of Information (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill

 

Stage 1

The Finance Committee has been designated by the Parliament as the lead committee for the consideration of the Freedom of Information (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill which has been introduced by the Scottish Government.

The Committee agreed the following timetable and witnesses for its four Stage 1 oral evidence sessions:

Wednesday 5 September: Scottish Government Bill team

Wednesday 12 September: Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland and the Commission for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland

Wednesday 12 September: Scottish Information Commissioner

Wednesday 12 September: Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities

The Official Reports for the 5 and 12 September meetings are available via the Finance Committee Meetings Papers and Official Reports webpage

Evidence

The Committee issued the following call for evidence on 14 June 2012:

To assist the Committee in its scrutiny of the Bill at Stage 1 (this is when the Committee will consider the ‘general principles’ of the Bill as opposed to the ‘fine detail’ (that is more for Stage 2)), it would welcome your response to some, or all, of the following questions.

Should there be any additional points you would like to raise, please do so at the end of you contribution.

General

1. What is your general view on the purpose of the Bill and broadly, are you supportive of it?

2. Did you take part in the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Freedom of Information (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill and how have your views been reflected?

3. The Scottish Government believes the Bill will add strength and clarity to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. Do you agree? Does the Bill protect the rights to access information?

Royal exemption

4. In response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Freedom of Information (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill, concerns were expressed about the Royal exemption provision (Bill section 1). What is your response to the position of the Scottish Government to these concerns?

Historical periods

5. In response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Bill, concerns were expressed about reducing the time limit period (in certain circumstances) of what constitutes a historical record (Bill section 4). What is your response to the position of the Scottish Government to these concerns?

Financial aspects

6. The Scottish Government considers the technical changes brought by the Bill will have no financial implications for the Scottish Administration, local authorities, other bodies, individuals or businesses. What is your response to this?

7. Do you believe your comments on the financial assumptions have been accurately reflected in the Financial Memorandum?

To accommodate the Committee’s timetable for Stage 1 scrutiny, it would welcome your response by Wednesday 8 August. The Committee will commence oral evidence sessions on 5 September. The Parliament has agreed that Stage 1 of the Bill be completed by 16 November 2012.

Before making a submission, please read the Parliament’s policy on treatment of written evidence by subject and mandatory committees. Written submissions should normally be limited to around 4 sides of A4. Longer submissions should be accompanied by a short summary of the main points. Submissions should be set out in numbered paragraphs. Where the submission refers to existing published material, it is preferable to provide hyperlinks or full citations (rather than extensive extracts). The Committee welcomes written evidence in English, Gaelic or any other language.

If possible, written submissions should be submitted electronically (preferably in Microsoft Word) by e-mail to finance@scottish.parliament.uk. A confirmatory hard copy is not required. Any hard copy submissions should be sent to: Fergus Cochrane, Finance Committee, The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP.

In response to this call for evidence the Committee recevied a number of written submissions

Read the submissions received

Additional information:

Work By Other Committees

No committees have been designated as secondary committees. The Subordinate Legislation Committee considered the Bill on 4 September and reported on the delegated powers provisions at sections 4 and 7.

Report

The Committee published its Stage 1 report on 2 November 2012:

Stage 1 Report on the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Bill

News release

Debate

The Stage 1 debate took place on 15 November 2012:

Official Report for 15 November 2012

Additional Information

Information relating to Stage 2 of the Bill (Marshalled List, Groupings of amendements) can be found via link.

The Stage 3 debate took place on Wednesday 16 January 2013

Official Report for 16 January 2013