Friday, January 30, 2009

Centre for FOI opens in Scotland

A new Centre for Freedom of Information was launched on 29 January at the University of Dundee. The Centre is a joint venture between Dundee Law School, University of Dundee and the Scottish Information Commissioner.

The Centre will provide:
  • Conceptual space to reflect on and discuss current FOI issues and practice.
  • A central point for the development of research into FOI issues, in particular modelling decision making and examining bureaucratic culture.
  • Access to expertise from specialists in constitutional and civil law, FOI practitioners and the Commissioner's office.
  • Opportunities to transfer knowledge and gain further learning.
Professor Alan Page, Dean of the Law School and Co-Director of the new Centre with Scottish Information Commissioner, Kevin Dunion, explained the background to the Centre, "Our culture is changing, transparency and openness are things we expect much more now. However, we haven't entirely moved into the light. We need to focus on the benefits rather than the costs of freedom of information and to find out what is actually happening in this area rather than relying on anecdotal evidence."

Kevin Dunion, the Scottish Information Commissioner, sees the Centre as an opportunity to bring together both research and experience, a place to discuss and explore the current issues in freedom of information: "We must ensure that our legislation, practice and culture are continually examined and reviewed if Scotland is to be at the forefront of international freedom of information practice. The Centre is an exciting opportunity to enable us to review and refresh our thinking in an academic setting, to share our own experience and to evaluate it against that of other FOI jurisdictions throughout the world. ".

The Centre will host a Seminar Programme in early 2009 which will advise the development of a Research Programme. A Study Programme is also in development.

You can register for news about the Centre here.

Lord Wallace open new Centre for Freedom of Information - press release 27/1/09, Scottish Information Commissioner
Centre for Freedom of Information website

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