UNISONScotland www
This is our archive website that is no longer being updated.
For the new website please go to
Click here
Home News About us Join Us Contacts Help Resources Learning Links UNISON UK




Sponsorship Comms Index Communications Forum Campaigns News Scotland inUNISON Press Releases


Communications Index | Press releases | Scotland inUNISON | Campaigns


Date: 25 October 2007

Government should use powers to extend Freedom of Information coverage - UNISON

UNISON, Scotland's public service union which has consistently argued that Freedom of Information should cover all non-public bodies who provide public services, today welcomed the call of the Scottish Information Commissioner for bodies such as housing associations, leisure trusts, and PFI/PPP contractors to be covered by the Freedom of Information act.

The union said that this could be exercised by the Scottish Government simply by using the current legislation.

Chris Bartter, UNISON's Scottish Communications Officer said "We and many other groups argued that the original legislation should cover all bodies providing public services - whether these are public, voluntary or private. We are pleased that the Commissioner has backed an extension of the coverage.

"We have asked housing associations for business plans, for example when they are contemplating transfer of housing to other associations, but we cannot currently use the Freedom of Information Act. If these were councils in the same position, this legislation would be open to us and to tenants"

UNISON points out that the current legislation provides the power for Scottish Ministers to designate such bodies as 'public' for the purpose of the Act.

Chris Bartter said "Section 5 of the Act has already been reviewed by the previous executive - there is no barrier to its use. We call on the Minister to compile a list of the housing associations, trusts, private contractors, and other voluntary and private sector organisations - private nurseries, residential care and nursing homes for example - that are curently spending our money without having to provide information to us."


Notes to Editors:

1. UNISON's evidence to the Justice Committee, at the time of the FoI Bill's consideration is available which calls for extensionm of the coverage is at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/response/foi2.html

2. Ironically the Environmental Information Scotland Regulations - which allow applications of information on environmental grounds, already DO cover contractors -but for more limited information.

For Further Information Please Contact: Chris Bartter (Communications officer) 07715 583 729(m) Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser) 07958 122 409(m)