Event: International Right to Know Day

Event: International Right to Know Day

Carole Ewart

Scotland’s Public Information Forum meets online today to celebrate International Right to Know Day (IRKD) and discuss how transparency and accountability can be strengthened through reform of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FoISA).

Both FoISA and IRKD celebrate 20th anniversaries this year which provides an opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved domestically as well as globally and how to improve legally enforceable access to information rights on matters such as the design, delivery and funding of public services.

The importance of the issue was further recognised in 2019 when the UN General Assembly proclaimed 28th September as the annual ‘International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI)’. The theme of UNESCO’s Global Conference on Universal Access to Information 2022 is ‘Artificial Intelligence, e-Governance and Access to Information’, reflecting on how information requests are changing as ‘digital first’ services grow.

Speakers at SPIF today are:

  • Katy Clark MSP who will shortly launch a consultation as the first step in reforming FoI law in Scotland through a member’s Bill.
  • ‘The Need for Reform?’ Daren Fitzhenry, Scottish Information Commissioner
  • ‘Key Issues for Reform’ Carole Ewart, Convener of CFoIS

The presentations will be followed by questions and debate. After that, there will be a session of updates and reports including from: the Scottish government, the Scottish Information Commissioner and CFoIS.

Carole Ewart, convener of CFoIS, said: “Over two years ago, Parliament’s Public Audit and Post Legislative Scrutiny Committee agreed a report itemising over 40 areas for reform of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 but it has not led to legislative change.

“In January 2022, CFoIS published its own Bill with Extensive Explanatory Notes and I am delighted that legal reform is now being taken forward by an MSP in a member’s Bill. Today’s meeting of SPIF enables people to hear about progress, timelines and detail of legislative reform. Also, to discuss the importance of the law’s agility in ensuring consistency in rights delivery given the dramatic changes in digital communication and diversification in publicly funded services.”

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