Consortium Responds to Consultations on Reforming Freedom of Information (FoI) in Scotland

Scottish Parliament MSP office windows Image credit: dun_deagh, Flickr:

The Human Rights Consortium Scotland has responded to two consultations on reforming FoI within Scotland:

  1. Consultation on a proposed Freedom of Information Reform (Scotland) Bill – by Katy Clark MSP, Member for West Scotland (Scottish Labour)
  2. Scottish Government – Access to information rights in Scotland: consultation

These consultations are all about how FOI law should be amended, strengthened, or protected. Read more about the reasons for these consultations here.

The main points covered in our consultation responses were:

  1. Holding the government to account requires transparency. If the Scottish Government are serious about human rights, they need to improve transparency. This includes strengthening FoI.
  1. The consultations ask about whether FoI should cover the 3rd sector.  We said that FoI duties should apply to every organisation that carries out statutory functions, including those in the 3rd sector.  This is important for accountability on how they have fulfilled human rights. But FoI should not apply to 3rd sector organisations if they don’t carry out statutory functions. We flag up that, especially for smaller organisations, FoI duties could have significant impact on their resources and capacity.
  1. There should also be consideration around how to make sure that vexatious requests do not disrupt the work of organisations who are defending and advancing human rights.  
  1. We need more proactive publication from duty bearers. People should not have to use FoI, and it should be a last resort tool. We welcome any measures that will improve this.

For more information, contact our Senior Policy Officer Lucy on

Click here to read our full response to both consultations.

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