SCOTLAND'S first freedom of information (FoI) tsar spent thousands of pounds of public money on his own farewell party, according to documents released under the law he championed.

Former Scottish Information Commissioner Kevin Dunion, below, has been accused of "self-indulgence" after a freedom of information request showed that his office spent almost £3000 on a reception at the Scottish Parliament to mark the end of his eight years as the country's FoI watchdog.

Another £3000 was spent on a public relations firm to promote a special final report by Dunion.

The outlays were revealed thanks to the very legislation Dunion policed since 2004.

Documents seen by the Sunday Herald show months of planning went into the Holyrood party in January, which was attended by 135 guests, including MSPs, lawyers, bureaucrats and academics.

Under the heading "objective and background", papers from the Information Commissioner's office, state: "The reception is being held to mark the departure of Kevin Dunion [KD] from office.

"It is an opportunity for: KD to thank those who have been part of FoI's journey in Scotland; KD to comment on his special report, launched that day; other commentators to reflect on the impact that Kevin has had on FoI's progress in Scotland; and the importance of the role of the Commissioner."

Invoices charged to the public purse show guests at the two-hour event got through £1361 worth of canapes and £665 worth of drink, including £17 bottles of wine and £7.40 jugs of orange juice. Designer invitations cost £150 and commemorative photographs £150, while £194 was paid for a delivery vehicle between the parliament and the Commission's headquarters in St Andrews.

In addition, Dunion's office spent £2000 with Glasgow-based Real PR – approximately £450 per day – in order to promote his final "special report" on the state of FoI.

A photographer, travel expenses, £150 of "props" for a photocall and VAT took the final bill with Real PR to £3086.

Scottish Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone said: "Kevin Dunion was infamous for his self-indulgence during his tenure, not least with the headquarters being based in St Andrews so he could walk to work in the morning.

"It is no surprise that this self-indulgence extended to his final farewell – all of this coming at the taxpayers' expense."

After Dunion left at the end of his second four-year term in February, he was replaced by Rosemary Agnew, the former boss of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, who chose not to defend her predecessor's spending by declining to comment on it.

Asked to respond to the criticism, Dunion said: "My special report to Parliament set out a detailed analysis of the state of freedom of information in Scotland and recommended a series of measures to safeguard and strengthen access to information.

"With a modest budget the report received extensive coverage and I am pleased that the Scottish Government has now incorporated some of the recommendations in a Bill to amend the FoI Scotland Act."