(437)  FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LIFTS THE VEIL

 

The coming into force of the UK and Scottish Freedom of Information (FoI) regimes on 1 January 2005 began to produce results, for the Press at least, in late January and early February, as the initial period for compliance with early FoI requests began to expire.  Apart from the fascinating details of who the First Family (Jack and Bridget) have officially entertained at dinner in their residence at Bute House (Scots Law News not included, alas), the most interesting item so far revealed (as the result of an FoI request made by Margo MacDonald MSP) is a report commissioned from cost consultants in 2000 by the Auditor General while he himself was preparing a report on the Holyrood project.  The consultants’ report was critical of the failure to follow the tendering procedures laid down by the Scottish Executive, the Treasury and the European Commission.  It said: This project ought to have been a model of good practice.  It clearly is not.”  The Auditor General did not publish this criticism in his own report because it was purely concerned with value for money questions.  More grist for the mill in the McAlpine case against the SPCB.”

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