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Scottish Public Information Forum (SPIF)

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(Alastair Tibbitt) #1

For anyone interested in FOI, this is an interesting - and free - planned by the Scottish Public Information Forum.

From the press release:

A second meeting of the newly revived Scottish Public Information Forum (SPIF) takes place in Glasgow on International Right to Know Day (28 September), and will discuss concerns about the way Scotlandʼs political leaders are likely to interpret calls for inquiries and reviews of the FOI regime.

The SPIF, revived by the Campaign for information in Scotland (CFoIS) is joining forces with the
Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (GCVS) to host this event, aiming to raise awareness amongst
community organisations, services and individuals of their ʻRight to Knowʼ.

Some of Scotlandʼs top FOI experts will speak. Acting Scottish Information Commissioner, Margaret
Keyse will introduce the Commissioners Annual Report and CFoIS Convener, Carole Ewart will release
a report on the Campaignʼs work highlighting the need for a review of the Scottish FOI operation.

Central to the agenda will be concerns about how the inquiry and review of the Freedom Of Information
(Scotland) Act (FOISA) and the role of the Scottish Government will be carried out. An inquiry into the
way the Scottish Governmentʼs responded to requests, and a review of the operation of the Act was
called for unanimously by the Scottish Parliament in June.

Carole Ewart said: “There is increasing concern that this inquiry will be foisted onto the Information Commissioner. This
would be an evasion of the Governmentʼs commitment and will draw precious resources away from the
Commissionerʼs statutory functions. The clear intention was for an independent inquiry to be set up.”

Helen Macneil, CEO at GCVS said: “It’s hugely important that groups, services and organisations understand their rights under Freedom of Information and how this can be used to help them achieve their goals and hold public agencies to
account. As Scotland looks to review Freedom of Information processes and policies, we want to ensure our members and the citizens of Glasgow can fully engage in the process, as FOI benefits everyone.”

Other items for discussion at the meeting will be – designation of new bodies under FOISA, access to
information and human rights, and best practice.