The Scottish Information Commissioner - It's Public Knowledge
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Personal Information

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Information about yourself or other people.

access to personal information

How do I ask? 


Requesting information from a Scottish public authority is simple; all you have to do as ask. You don't even have to live in Scotland.


You don't have to mention FOI (although you can), nor do you have to give any reasons for asking or say why you want the information.


All you have to do it:

  • Make your request in a form that can be kept for future use such as e-mail, letter, fax, audio or video tape.
    If you want your FOI rights to apply, you can't ask verbally (for example by telephone or at an office) - unless you are asking for environmental information.


  • Give your name and address (e-mail or postal) so that the authority can reply.
    Remember and use your real name. If you use a false name, the authority doesn't have to respond and the Commissioner and the courts won't be able to enforce your rights.

    You can add other contact information such as a telephone number. It can help speed up the response if the authority can get in touch with you quickly to check a point.


  • Ask for the information you want. Describe the information as clearly and as briefly as you can.
    The clearer you can be, the more likely the authority will respond quickly and accurately. Focus on the information you really want to see - if your request is too broad, it may be refused because of the cost of responding to it.

    If you need the information in a particular format, tell the authority (for example, as a summary, or an audio version). The authority must provide the information in the format you prefer but only as far as is reasonable. In deciding what is reasonable, the authority must not discriminate against you If you have a disability.


  • Send your request to a Scottish public authority
    It is a good idea to check whether the authority has a special FOI address or contact person. Use these details if you have them. Contact details for individual authorities are available in our 'Search for a Scottish public authority' database. If you don't have an address you can send your request to anyone in the authority, from a receptionist to a senior official.



  • The public authority has a legal duty to help you if you have any difficulties in making your request, or are unsure of what information you want.    
  •  There's more useful guidance on making requests available on our Tips for Requesters page.


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