The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (“FOISA”) has been extended to grant-aided schools, independent special schools, private prison contractors, children’s secure accommodation providers and Scottish Health Innovations Limited. The “right to know” can now be exercised against these bodies.
Who can FOISA be extended to?
The Scottish Ministers can designate a body as a Scottish public authority for FOISA if the body carries out public functions or if it provides services under a contract with a Scottish public authority which are otherwise the authority’s functions.
However, the right to know does not apply to all information held by the designated bodies. It only applies to information held by the bodies in connection with the specified public functions or services for which they have been designated as Scottish public authorities.
The Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations ("EIRs"), which provide access to environmental information held by Scottish public authorities on request, apply automatically to FOISA designated bodies.
Has FOISA been extended before?
Yes, this is the second time that FOISA has been extended in its eleven-year history. The last time was in April 2014, when FOISA was extended to arms-length trusts set up and (wholly or partly) financed by one or more local authorities to develop and / or deliver sporting, cultural and leisure facilities and activities on behalf of the authorities.
How will the schools respond to requests during school holidays?