The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 ('the Act')
Scotland's Freedom of Information legislation provides a statutory right of access to information held by Scottish public authorities. These range from the Scottish Parliament and Government to local authorities, NHS boards, higher and further education bodies, doctors and dental practitioners.
The provisions of the Act can be extended to other bodies, including private bodies, that carry out functions of a public nature or which provide, under a contract with a Scottish public authority, a service which is a function of that authority.
This can be done by making an order under section 5 of the Act, which designates those bodies as a Scottish public authority for the purposes of the legislation. They are then subject to the full requirements of the Act - as well as becoming automatically subject to the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.
Bodies designated under section 5 are subject to the Act in respect of the information they hold about specified public functions or services. Their duties under the Act would therefore be limited to those functions or services as set out in the order.
To date, two orders under section 5 of the Act have been agreed by the Scottish Parliament and are in force. The orders have designated as public authorities for the purposes of the Act certain arm's length organisations, private prison contractors, providers of secure accommodation for children, grant-aided and independent special schools and Scottish Health Innovation Ltd.
In line with its incremental approach to extending coverage and in order to consider the longstanding issue of whether Registered Social Landlords ( RSLs) should be subject to Freedom of Information legislation, in December 2016 the Scottish Government published a consultation paper on extending coverage of the Act to RSLs.
The paper proposed that, subject to consultation, RSLs should be brought within scope of Scotland's Freedom of Information legislation.
Following consultation, the Scottish Government published an Interim Report highlighting key issues raised during the consultation exercise.