I wish to make an FOI request. ScotRail has announced a new chief operating officer for when the train operator becomes a public body. The appointment was made for this public body which is controlled by the Scottish Government. I have a number of questions below which were not answered in the past week.
ScotRail announces new Chief Operating Officer from 1 April 2022 | ScotRail
1. Who made the COO appointment, ScotRail, Transport Scotland or some other entity?
2. How many were on the panel that made the appointment and who are they.
3. How many were interviewed for the post.
4. Were they directly approached or was there an open recruitment policy.
5. What was the salary of the COO.
Can I make some points in advance to, perhaps, speed things up. Non disclosure is clearly not in the public interest and prevents proper public accountability of the actions of a public body. There is an in-built presumption in the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) that it is in the public interest to disclose information unless a public authority can show clearly why there is a greater public interest in withholding the information.
So far there has been a failure in that respect.
The Scottish Ministers have produced guidance for Scottish public authorities on how to effectively discharge their functions under FOI law: the FOI/EIR: Section 60 Code of Practice includes guidance on the disclosure of information relating to contracts and procurement (section 8, from page 28 onward). This contains “guiding principles” around the disclosure of procurement information (whether in relation to proactive publication or requests), including that the public should, for example, be able to access info on “how much money is being spent” (see section 8.1). Requests for such information should be considered alongside the guidance in the Scottish Ministers’ Section 60 Code of Practice.
In this case it is suggested that the appointment was made by ScotRail and therefore it is for ScotRail to divulge.
But this is an appointment, as is clearly stated by ScotRail, to a public body, and therefore there is a duty of transparency in this matter.