News: “Future engagement on FOI needs to include all social care providers”

Our CEO responds to the Scottish Government’s move to delay a full consultation on access to information rights

The Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) has welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision not to extend Freedom of Information legislation to cover third sector organisations, including all not-for-profit social care providers.

The government now plans instead to consult on the extension of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act to private and third sector providers of care homes and care-at-home services.

However, the consultation will not proceed until after the National Care Service Bill has been passed, it announced last week. The move follows a consultation on access to information rights in Scotland launched a year ago.

Commenting in response, CCPS’s CEO Rachel Cackett said:

“Right now, every single day, not-for-profit providers of care and support are struggling. They face massive holes in available public service funding, a crisis in staffing, and too little resource to meet need in our communities, which only increases as the cost-of-living crisis worsens.

“So a full, detailed, engagement with social care providers – from the largest to the smallest – to work out the best and most proportionate way to implement any changes to FOI duties so that new demands do not reduce services, but can support people’s access to information, is right.

“But it is also right to delay the consultation for now and we welcome the Scottish Government’s announcement.

“We have to remember that FOI legislation was not written for our sector of diverse providers, and so any changes need to be made with us or it simply won’t work as intended.”

During the 2016 to 2021 session of the Scottish Parliament, the Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee reviewed existing FOI legislation. The Scottish Government responded to the Committee’s report on 25 February 2021.

Read the Scottish Government’s response to the access to information rights consultation