(102)  Freedom of information

The Scottish Executive published its draft Freedom of Information Bill on 1 March 2001 (available athttp://www.scotland.gov.uk/consultations/government/dfib-08.asp). This followed the issue in November 1999 of An Open Scotland, a consultation document on freedom of information. The Bill provides for a statutory right of access to information held by public authorities in Scotland;  a harm test of “substantial prejudice” to be applied before information can be withheld; a requirement to consider the public interest in disclosure; and the appointment of of an independent Scottish Information Commissioner with strong powers to promote and enforce the legislation. Once enacted, this legislation will operate alongside a statute of the UK Parliament, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which will deal with non-devolved areas.