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To ask the Scottish Government what redress is available to a councillor who is refused access to papers regarding the local authority's budget and the development of financial plans.

Answered by Marco Biagi (05/06/2015): Reports submitted to meetings of a council, its committees and subcommittees are covered by the provisions of Part IIIA of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973. This requires them to be available for public inspection, unless they are to be considered in private session. Following the meeting, background papers have to be made available in accordance with a statutory scheme. Section 50F provides that a member of an authority is always entitled to inspect material relevant to business to be transacted at a meeting of the authority, unless it would disclose exempt information, as are members of committees, where committee business is involved.

These provisions do not cover meetings which are not part of a council’s formal committee structure, in which case the release of reports is a matter for the council itself.

In the first instance a member of an authority should approach whichever officer or officers the council has designated as its proper officer for such matters for access to material. Ultimately a member of an authority could seek access to documents through the courts, or pursue a complaint of maladministration with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

Current Status: Answered by Marco Biagi on 05/06/2015
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