NUJ says no to FOI delays in new Scottish bill
1 April 2020
The NUJ is urging the Scottish Parliament to consider the Freedom of Information implications in the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill being pushed through the Scottish Parliament today.
John Toner, NUJ Scottish national organiser said:
"The Bill as published would allow a public body up to five months to respond to a simple freedom of information request and another five months to carry out an internal review of its original decision. The NUJ believes that reliable information is crucial during the current crisis, when rumours are stoking fear. The timescales are excessive and could damage public trust. There has been no consultation, and no attempt to explain why 60 working days and possibly 100 working days are necessary for a response. The Government should be asked to justify this.We urge MSPs to amend Schedule 6, part 2, Clause 3(1) and 5(1), which allows the Bill to cover the response time of all bodies covered by FoISA. We further urge MSPs to amend Schedule 6, Part 2 Clause 3 (2) and 5 (1), in order to maintain the current response time for internal reviews.This is not the time to put the brakes on accurate information."