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FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: UNION WELCOMES PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE REPORT

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UnisonScotland has welcomed the report of the Scottish parliament's justice 1 committee on freedom of information, ...
UnisonScotland has welcomed the report of the Scottish parliament's justice 1 committee on freedom of information, and urged the Scottish executive to adopt its recommendations.

Chris Bartter, UnisonScotland's communications officer said: 'It is good to see that two of the most important comments that we made to the committee have been taken up. Unison has always said that private sector and other bodies who provide public services should be automatically covered, and the committee recommends that they be included automatically. It is not in the spirit of the Bill that information on public services should not be made public simply because the service is provided by private or voluntary sector bodies.'

The union, who represent many of the staff who will have the job of delivering the information requested is also pleased that the committee has recognised the need for the executive to provide extra resources to authorities.

Mr Bartter says: 'As the committee says, training is key to this legislation. Training is not a cheap option, neither are proper records and information management procedures. Freedom of information should be a core operation for authorities, and they need the appropriate resources to allow them to deliver. We urge the executive to commit themselves to make the necessary resources available.'

Unison still has concerns about some other aspects of the report, such as the committee's failure to accept the need for a clause detailing the purpose of the legislation, and the committee split over the ministerial veto. They will be discussing with other organisations the possibility of submitting amendments to the Bill.

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