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Information not held

Guidance on applying FOISA section 17

Under section 1(1) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), a person who requests information from a Scottish public authority which holds it is entitled to be given the information by the authority.

The definition of “information” in FOISA is wide.  It means information recorded in any form.

The information to be given to a requester is the information which the authority holds at the time the request is received (section 1(4) of FOISA). 

However, some information which an authority has in its possession may not be “held” by it for the purposes of FOISA. This applies to:

  • information which the authority holds on behalf of another person (section 3(2)(a)(i) of FOISA) and
  • information which was supplied by a Minister of the Crown or a department of the UK Government and is held in confidence by the authority (section 3(2)(a)(ii) of FOISA).

Information which another person holds on behalf of the authority is “held” by the authority (section 3(2)(b) of FOISA).

Good records management is required in order to be sure what information is held within an authority. 

 PDF icon Information Not Held - Section 17

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