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Scottish Public Information Forum (SPIF)

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UNSION Learning Centre

Douglas House, 60 Belford Road

Edinburgh

EH4 3UQ

United Kingdom

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Description

Purpose

The purpose of the Scottish Public Information Forum’ (SPIF) meeting is to discuss and review the operation of ‘access to information’ rights now in Scotland, hear the views of the providers of information and listen to those with practical experience of asking for information. The meeting is being convened by the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland, and is supported by funding from UNISON Scotland.

History

SPIF has morphed from various incarnations designed to phase in the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FoISA). In 2010 the Scottish Government defined its remit as To enable the long-term effectiveness of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 through:

  • Acting as a sounding-board on the practical operation of Freedom of Information and the Environmental Information Regulations in Scotland.

  • Sharing experiences of Freedom of Information and the Environmental Information Regulations – from the perspective of public authorities and of users.

  • Sharing good practice and experience of Freedom of Information and the Environmental Information Regulations across the various sectors in Scotland.

  • Discussing progress updates from the Scottish Information Commissioner and Court of Session decisions.’

SPIF is included in the Scottish Government’s Six FoI principles published in 2007 to:

'Maintain effective relationships with the Scottish Information Commissioner and other key stakeholders.

We ensure the effective operation of the Act by fostering and maintaining good working relationships on Freedom of Information with stakeholders such as other public authorities and the Scottish Public Information Forum.'

Stakeholder Engagement

However, the SPIF has not met since October 2010 which creates a vacuum in stakeholder engagement, so this meeting is an opportunity to:

  • Generate a round table group of participants who can discuss access to information rights from practical experience.

  • Serve as a forum to highlight new developments including additional routes on the provision of information.

  • Gather views and share them with the Scottish Government on the effective operation of FoISA as well as the EIR(S)s.

It is anticipated that there will be a range of stakeholders present to ensure informed discussion. A report will be produced and shared to progress actions. It will appear on the for the CFoI website https://www.cfoi.org.uk/scotland/

Agenda

9.30-10 Registration

10am Introduction and Welcome

Dr David Goldberg, Director Project Forsskal (http://www.peterforsskal.com/)

10.05 FoISA now and then: experiences of requesters, providers and regulators since 1st January 2005

  • Margaret Keyse, Acrting Scottish Information Commissioner

  • Alison Mackinnon, Information Manager, Information Governance, Performance and Innovation Portfolio, Scottish Environment Protection Agency

  • Journalist Invited

10.35 Presentations

  • Pro-active publication of accessible information: What is the ‘Open government pioneers project’? Ruchir Shah SCVO

  • Strengthening Access to information Rights: the impact of the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights; history of and plans for, reform of FoISA in Scotland. Carole Ewart, Convener of CFoIS

  • Challenges to Delivering FoISA and EIR(S)s - Practitioners speak out – Dave Watson Scottish Organiser (Bargaining and Campaigns) UNISON Scotland

11.30 Break and Coffee/tea

11.45 Roundtable Discussion on: barriers to accessing information, challenges for those answering requests; how to best develop access to information rights in Scotland.

12.45 Next Steps

1pm Close and Thanks


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Date and Time

Location

UNSION Learning Centre

Douglas House, 60 Belford Road

Edinburgh

EH4 3UQ

United Kingdom

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