Ministers agree to consult on Lib Dem proposals to expand freedom of information

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today said the Scottish Government must extend freedom of information laws to private bodies providing public services, after it agreed to consult on proposals put forward by the Scottish Liberal Democrats to expand its scope.

Scottish Liberal Democrats have been calling for the measures as part of a package of reforms designed to boost transparency and accountability in the wake of the Scottish Information Commissioner's stern rebuke of the Scottish Government secretive approach to governance.

Mr Rennie said:

"Scottish Liberal Democrats have today secured a consultation on extending FOI to private bodies providing public services. That is an important step because it is only fair that when firms are receiving vast sums of public money, they’re open and transparent about how this is handled. The public have a right to know whether the contractors running our railways and the firms maintaining our schools and hospitals are doing a good job.

"The 2002 Act was meant to be the start of the process of opening up government and improving transparency. As well as mending its ways, the Scottish Government needs to take FOI to the next level."

Public procurement of services is currently worth £11billion each year.

The amendment agreed by SNP and Scottish Liberal Democrat MSPs, and passed by the Scottish Parliament, said "that the Scottish Government should consult on proposals to further extend coverage of Scotland’s freedom of information legislation, for example, to companies providing services on behalf of the public sector.”

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