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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 January 2005, 09:48 GMT
Act brings freedom of information
Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act
The new law came into force at midnight
A new law giving people in Scotland the right to access information held by thousands of public authorities has come into force.

The Freedom of Information (FoI) Act came into force at midnight and is aimed at increasing accountability.

Subject to certain conditions, anyone who makes a request to a public authority for information will be now entitled to receive it. The act will be enforced by Information Commissioner Kevin Dunion.

The legislation introduces a general statutory right of access to all types of recorded information, of any age, held by Scottish public authorities.

The legislation will deliver genuine benefits to the people of Scotland
Margaret Curran
Minister for Parliamentary Business

It applies to the Scottish Executive and its agencies, local authorities, NHS Scotland, schools, colleges and universities, the police and the Scottish Parliament.

Other bodies can be added to the list in the future.

Anyone can apply for information from these bodies by writing to them and describing, as fully as possible, the information that they are looking for and giving their name and address.

There is no need to give any reason for a request or even mention it is being asked for under the FoI Act.

Charging for information is discretionary with the first 100 of any details to be provided free of charge.

The Minister for Parliamentary Business Margaret Curran said: "The executive is committed to open and transparent government.

"It fits with our aim of delivering public services built around the needs of the people who use them.

"The legislation will deliver genuine benefits to the people of Scotland.

"It will give people the opportunity to find out more about their local school, hospital or council or, indeed, any of the estimated 10,000 or so public bodies in Scotland covered by the legislation."

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