Holyrood criticised for withholding information
The information watchdog has expressed her “disappointment” at the Scottish Government withholding public information.
Ministers withheld 18 Health and Social Care Directorate internal audit reports from publication, despite “strongly worded advice” from Information Commissioner Rosemary Agnew to reconsider.
She criticised ministers for attempting to adopt a “class-based blanket approach” to non-disclosure, which contradicted her own advice, that of the courts, and even the government’s own internal guidance.
Ms Agnew has now concluded that most of the information was appropriate for release.
Labour described the ruling as a “significant intervention” which “should embarrass SNP ministers”.
A spokeswoman for the commissioner said: “The commissioner’s decision expresses disappointment that the ministers continued to seek to exempt the information in its entirety throughout her investigation, despite a 2007 Court of Session ruling which considered and rejected a similar blanket approach.”
Ministers were given advance notice of the likely outcome of her deliberations if they continued to pursue general arguments against disclosure, and were given “strongly worded advice to reconsider their position”.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the Commissioner’s decision and are complying with her findings.” Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “This SNP government has an unhealthy addiction to secrecy.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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