A renewed call for reform of Scotland's Freedom of Information Act has been made by the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland ("CFoIS"), on the 20th anniversary of the 2002 Act receiving Royal Assent.

CFoIS is promoting its draft bill, which proposes 21 amendments to close loopholes, provide consistency on what publicly funded services are covered, address poor practice and strengthen rights and duties.

The pressure group said the 2002 law had made a huge impact on devolved functions and 10,000 designated organisations. "FoI has proven to be very popular, with over 78,000 requests for information made in 2020-2021 from bin collection rotas to ferry services. The public appreciates the importance of transparency and accountability in how publicly funded services are delivered to provide reassurance or evidence that concerns in performance are legitimate.

"FoI increases informed, public participation in decision making and we all benefit from scrutiny of how policy is made and services funded such as in health and social care, education and housing.  However the 20 years old law, which became enforceable on 1 January 2005, needs updated and be sufficiently flexible to adapt to changes in how public services are delivered."

CFoIS convener Carole Ewart commented: "In the absence of new legislation, recommended in 2020, CFoIS has taken the initiative to produce a bill supported by extensive explanatory notes, and we are delighted it is attracting support. We call on the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament to mark the 20th anniversary of FoISA receiving Royal Assent by agreeing to update the legislation, which has become successively weaker as the years pass."

A Scottish Parliament reception to mark FoISA@20 will be held this evening.

Read a Journal feature on CFoIS's proposed bill.