Tuesday, May 27, 2008

SIC newsletter May/June 2008

The latest edition of Inform, the Scottish Information Commissioner's newsletter, has been published. This edition focuses on the Commissioner's strategic plan for 2008-2012.

Investigating appeals will continue to be a key priority and, for applications received from April 2008, I want cases to be closed within 6 months on average with no case taking longer than 11 months. However, I am also devoting additional resources to checking compliance by public authorities outwith case investigations. I want to look at the track record of individual sectors and specific authorities, to see if there are chronic or repeated failings which could be addressed through an agreed action plan, or, failing that, by using my power to issue a recommendation as to good practice.

I will also be devoting more resources to improving the capacity of authorities and civic society to keep up to date with good practice and current thinking on interpreting freedom of information laws, by publishing handbooks, organising training events and conducting research. Across Scotland considerable investment went into staff training before the legislation came into force in 2005, but much of this addressed how the Act might work in practice. After 3 years and more than 600 decisions I want to refresh current thinking. This is particularly important if new public authorities are to be designated within the next four years. The changing ways in which public services are delivered has, I believe, led to strong arguments for designation, and I intend to help newly-designated authorities fully prepare for their new responsibilities.

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