Monday, March 10, 2008

Scottish Commissioner welcomes release of reliance contract

SIC press release
7 March 2008
The Scottish Information Commissioner, Kevin Dunion, today (7 March 2008) welcomed the decision of the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) to voluntarily publish in full its contract with Reliance Secure Task Management, for its prisoner escort and court custody service.

The Commissioner first received an appeal in relation to this contract in 2004, when the request was considered under the terms of the non-statutory Code of Practice on Access to Scottish Executive Information, a precursor to the FOI Act. The Commissioner later ordered the release of some related performance information following a separate appeal under the FOI Act in 2006. However, this most recent decision by the SPS, with the full support of Reliance, will see the entire contract, including commercial and other sensitive details previously withheld, made available to the public for the first time.

Kevin Dunion said "This is a positive example of the change in culture looked for under Scotland's new FOI regime. In the past, it would have been highly unlikely for this kind of contract to be fully opened to public scrutiny. However, more and more public authorities are recognising that where public services are delivered under contract it is good practice to release such information as there is a genuine public interest in knowing what has been agreed with the private contractor. I am pleased that the SPS has decided to put the full contract into the public domain."

The contract can be viewed on the SPS website here.


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