News Release Thursday 5th July 2007:
NEW WEBSITE OPENS DOORS TO FREEDOM OF INFORMATIONScottish Information Commissioner's website - http://www.itspublicknowledge.info
The Scottish Information Commissioner launches his new website today.
The new site will make it easier for members of the public to understand and exercise their rights under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act - and will also help public authorities, not just to comply with their legal obligations, but to further embrace the spirit of openness which the Act sets out to achieve.
Drawing on over two years’ experience since the Act came into force – which has seen the Commissioner’s office receive, each year, over 500 applications and nearly 1,500 enquiries - the new website is designed to be more accessible, searchable and user friendly than its predecessor.
The new look includes clear signposting on the home page to help members of the public, and public authorities get quickly to the parts of the site which are most relevant to them.
For people making information requests, there is an easy three step guide to making a request, and a new response calculator which can show, at the touch of a button, the date when a response is due from a public authority.
And for public authority users there is a more flexible tool for searching the Commissioner’s past decisions, guidance on applying exemptions, and an expanded resources area.
The Scottish Information Commissioner, Kevin Dunion, said “The challenge set by the new freedom of information regime is to move from a culture of secrecy to a culture of openness. My role is not just about enforcing the law but ensuring members of the public feel confident about their rights and encouraging public authorities to go beyond compliance to become more open in all their dealings. Our new website will actively support this process, by helping all users of the Act, in whatever capacity, make the most of what it has to offer”.
The Commissioner’s website currently receives an average of 660 hits per day – nearly 116,000 so far in 2007. It is the main medium through which information about the Scottish Information Commissioner and his work is communicated to the outside world.