Date: Weds 10 December
Government should accept public view and extend FoI to private
contractors - UNISON
UNISONScotland today, welcomed new research that shows the Scottish
public backs extending Freedom of Information to cover private
companies building schools and hospitals under PPP/PFI contracts,
and other non-public bodies delivering public services.
Research for the Scottish Information Commissioner published
today, shows 75%-79% support for making private companies subject
to FOI legislation. UNISON is pleased that there is also very
strong public support for including other organisations such as
private prisons, housing associations and trusts providing local
authority health and leisure services.
UNISON's Scottish Communications Officer, Chris Bartter said:
"The public rightly thinks that all bodies delivering public services
should be subject to the same accountability as the public sector.
"Such high levels of support will hopefully make the Scottish
Government think again about its disappointing approach in the
discussion paper, where, for example, Ministers have argued that
hospital cleaning services may not be a public function!
"UNISON believes that changes to the legislation should be based
on the principle that any organisation which provides a public
service should be accountable to the public.
"It is unacceptable that information that is open to people where
a service - such as social housing - is provided by a public authority,
could be hidden from them where private or other non-public bodies
"In the case of PPP/PFI contracts, the scandalous waste of public
funds on these could have been greatly reduced if full information
about the projects had been open to scrutiny, letting the public
see the credit card levels of charges being run up for the next
generation to pay."
Notes to editors:
1. UNISONScotland is the largest public service union in Scotland,
and has used FOI legislation regularly to identify issues in Scotland's
public service delivery, including - the cost of PFI/PPP; violence
and abuse to public service workers; and how health budgets are
2. The Research report was conducted for the Scottish Information
Commissioner and is available via his Media Team on 01334 464610
0r 07976 511 752. It will be available on-line at http://www.itspublicknowledge.info
For Further Information Please Contact: Chris Bartter
(Communications Officer) 07505 950 783 (m) (note temp mobile number)
Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser) 07958 122 409(m)