Thursday, September 21, 2006

Conference: Where Now for Freedom of Information in Scotland?

20th November 2006, Edinburgh


Agenda (subject to change)
09:00 Registration and Refreshments

09:45 Welcome and introduction by the conference chair
Brian Taylor, Political Editor, BBC Scotland

Session One: Two Years On
At the conference, the freedom of information (FOI) regime will have been in operation for 22 months. This first session sets the scene of how the system has worked so far and whether it is achieving its aims.

09:55 Keynote address
Kevin Dunion, Scottish Information Commissioner
The Scottish Information Commissioner delivers a keynote address on the lessons of the Act’s first two years and the future for FOI

10:25 A Culture of Openness?
David Hencke, Freedom of Information Correspondent, The Guardian
Has the FOI regime made authorities more open and accountable, and has it improved public trust in government and administration? Were these realistic aims to begin with?

10:45 Questions, Discussion and Electronic Audience Response

11:10 Refreshments

Session Two: FOI Around The World
As the Scottish Executive’s review progresses, delegates will have an opportunity to hear from leading authorities on two other international FOI regimes and the lessons from these systems for Scotland on the issues identified during the review.

11:30 The Irish Experience
Emily O’Reilly, Ombudsman and Information Commissioner, Republic of Ireland
Fulfilling a unique dual role as both FOI watchdog and also the public administration ombudsman, the Irish Commissioner addresses the issues identified during the review

11:55 The Swedish Experience
Helena J├Ąderblom, Director, Constitutional and Administration Law Division, Ministry of Justice, Sweden
With FOI having existed there since 1766, longer than anywhere else in the world, Sweden’s lengthy experience of making FOI work is brought to bear on the Scottish scene

12:20 Questions, Discussion and Electronic Audience Response

12:45 Lunch

Session Three: Information and Accountability
The issue of accountability is at the heart of the FOI regime.

13:45 Panel Discussion Including Questions from the Audience and Electronic Audience Response

14:45 Refreshments

Session Four: The Future of FOI
The final session looks to the future and how the regime might develop further, and hears from experts in the media and legal fields, before closing with a summary from the Scottish Information Commissioner.

15:05 The Public Response to FOI
Media Representative
How have the public reacted to the FOI regimes in Scotland and England, and what do they think of attempts to reform them?

15:25 The Review and Next Steps
Hazel Moffat, Partner and FOI Specialist, DLA Piper
How might the issues identified in the review be resolved, and how might the Scottish and English reforms proceed differently?

15:45 Questions, Discussion and Electronic Audience Response

16:05 Summary and conclusions
Kevin Dunion, Scottish Information Commissioner responds to the issues raised during the day

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