The Future of Freedom of Information
Published on 21 December 2022
Chairing the Holyrood Freedom of Information Annual Conference 2022
Freedom of information in the United Kingdom is undergoing a seismic shift. With changes being mooted by the Information Commissioner on how it processes complaints against public authorities and parliamentary support in Scotland being directed at reforming the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2004, the landscape in which the public access information held by the state is changing. With these changes comes opportunities to build upon and improve how the right to access information is guaranteed. Equally however, there is a need to carefully reflect on what changes are implemented in order to avoid introducing new problems that undermine the right of access to information.
It is these developments that constituted the central theme for the Holyrood Freedom of Information Annual Conference 2022. Chaired by Dr Sean Whittaker from the University of Dundee’s Centre for Freedom of Information, the Conference provided an opportunity for MSPs, public officials and NGOs to consider topics such as the professionalisation of FOI Officers and the use of freedom of information legislation by journalists. The Conference also heard from members of the public who had utilised their right to access information, allowing the attendees to reflect on the successes and difficulties in accessing information in practice.