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In his final reply to an MP in his Commons statement Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said that the Scottish government’s contact tracing app, which has just been launched (see 11.08am), was “technically excellent” and that he strongly endorsed it.
The Scottish government has defended its handling of freedom of information requests during the coronavirus pandemic, and said it will prioritise tackling that crisis over improving public access to information.
In its response to stinging criticisms this morning from the Scottish information commissioner, Daren Fitzhenry (see 10.48am), it said it had “some concerns” about his complaints about a steep decline in response times and its reallocation of staff away from handling FoI requests. A spokeswoman said things had improved, with 79% of responses answered on time in June, but added:
The impact on the government of resourcing our response to the ongoing emergency, particularly in the early months, has been enormous, with large numbers of staff being redeployed and having to work extremely long hours. While the virus remains active, and in the absence of a vaccine, our priority must be to focus our resources on suppressing the virus.