Freedom of Information and the SNP

The Scottish National Party has an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament following yesterday’s elections.  They are therefore in a position of incredible power like no other Executive has had in Scotland since devolution.

Over the last four years that the SNP has been in Government we have seen a distinct secrecy and evasiveness about being held accountable, especially by the Scottish Public.  All too often they have simply ignored Freedom of Information requests made by the press and public which is of great concern indeed.  The purpose of Freedom of Information is to give people greater access to information that the Government holds in order to assist them in holding their Government to account.  The SNP have had a blatant disregard for FOI over the last four years.

In addition to frequently effectively ignoring FOI requests they have failed to address the very real issue of the sheer number of private bodies who are spending vast swathes of public finance but cannot be held accountable by the public using FOI as they are simply not covered.  Nobody is denying that Private Companies only need to be accountable to their shareholders, but where a significant element of their business involves disposing of significant amounts of public money the public should be able to directly hold them accountable for how they spend that money!

I will be looking for a more open and less evasive Scottish Government and I certainly won’t be giving up anytime soon in trying to hold them to account where I feel that needs to be done.

While on the subject of FOI I will say that I am still waiting for a response to my Freedom of Information request to the Scottish Government over Cadder made on 4th February 2011 and to the subsequent request for review made in the wake of their deafening silence on 17 March 2011.