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A Scottish freedom of information regime for a denationalised environment : rhetorical or authentically practical?

Liddle, Calum and McMenemy, David (2015) A Scottish freedom of information regime for a denationalised environment : rhetorical or authentically practical? Information and Communications Technology Law, 24 (3). pp. 225-241. ISSN 1360-0834

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Abstract

This paper provides an evaluation of the Scottish freedom of information regime in the modern denationalised environment. The authors conducted a pragmatic investigation by means of a real-world compliance inquiry which involved, among other things, the electronic submission of standardised requests for information to those local authority arm’s-length external organisations which find themselves now subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. A compliance matrix, with several response measures, recorded the progression and outcome of the requests sent to each named ‘public authority’. The article is also furnished with a contextual overview of the interaction between the home nation FOI regimes and private enterprise with a nod to contemporaneous events. In turn, the paper reveals several quagmires for the operational practicality of FOI in the privatised arena: a pronounced reminder of the difficulties associated with maintaining a functioning and practical FOI regime in light of a myriad of public service delivery models in the denationalised epoch.