Headlines: June 3rd, 2004

The Scottish Parliament has taken an important step towards openness with the issue of its Publication Scheme document as part of the implementation of the country’s Freedom of Information Act. The document lists all the information the parliament currently makes, or intends to make, available to the public.It also describes how such information can be accessed and provides details of the formats in which it appears and of any cost involved. It covers information the Parliament holds and also indicates whether or not the documents are available in other languages or formats for people with hearing or visual disability. The Scheme is available on the Parliament’s website and in hard copy and there is a Gaelic translation of the document.

The Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer, George Reid said openness was one of the founding principles of the Parliament and this scheme reflected its commitment to the principle. “Over time, we hope that the Parliament will be regarded as a leading example and a model Scottish public authority in the way it responds to the new freedom of information regime in Scotland,” he said.

The Publication Scheme lists items associated with the full range of Parliament’s business such as the Official Report, Minutes of Proceedings, Bills in Progress, Committee Reports and Petitions. Other documents listed in it cover procedures, including briefings and research created by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre. Further sections cover information about MSPs, the administration of the Parliament and external information, such as educational resources available to the public, televised proceedings, information films and equalities policies.