Information Commissioner to give evidence to Holyrood’s Audit Committee

Scotland’s information watchdog is to be questioned by MSPs after he accused the Scottish Government of adopting an “inconsistent” approach to Freedom of Information (FoI) laws.

Daren Fitzhenry, the Scottish Information Commissioner, is to give evidence to Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee as part of its scrutiny of legislation introduced in 2002.

It comes after he mounted an investigation into the government’s FoI record and the involvement of special advisers in the process following complaints from the media.

His report, published in June 2018, found FoI requests from journalists, together with MSPs and political researchers, were “expressly made subject to a different process for clearance” than those made by others.

It added that this practice was “inconsistent with the applicant-blind principle of FoI legislation”, and was likely to cause delays in the consideration of requests.

The Scottish Government said at the time that it accepted in full the watchdog’s seven recommendations, including ending its practice of treating requests differently “solely because of who or what they are”.

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