FoI extension plan could include private prisons

Private prisons could come under the scope of expanded Freedom of Information legislation in Scotland. Picture: Getty Images

Private prisons could come under the scope of expanded Freedom of Information legislation in Scotland. Picture: Getty Images

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FREEDOM of information laws could be extended to cover companies operating private prisons and independent special schools as part of a shake-up of the rules on the public’s right to know.

The Scottish Government is launching a consultation on proposals to extend the FOI legislation to bodies involved with a range of security, care and educational functions.

Minister for Parliamentary Business, Joe FitzPatrick, said those being considered for inclusion include contractors operating private prisons, providers of secure accommodation for children, grant-aided schools and independent special schools.

He said: “This consultation demonstrates the Scottish Government’s commitment to continually improving Scotland’s transparency and ensuring that freedom of information legislation remains robust and up-to-date.

“This includes reviewing coverage of the legislation in the context of Scotland’s ever-changing public service landscape.

“The First Minister has committed to leading the most open and accessible government that Scotland has ever had. In tandem with this commitment is our desire to make certain that organisations delivering key public service roles are themselves open, accountable and subject to scrutiny. We are therefore proposing to widen the scope of bodies covered by that legislation, to cover areas of education, care and security.”

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