It's public knowledge...
The overwhelming majority of the 408 applications received during 2010 were, once again, made by ordinary members of the public, seeking to access information on issues relevant to their daily lives.
2010 also saw a significant increase in the number of applications made by commercial organisations. It is worth noting, however, that this increase was primarily due to the activities of one company, which submitted more than half of the 34 applications made by commercial organisations over the year.
There was also a decline in the proportion of appeals received from elected representatives, down from 5% across 2008/2009 to 3% in 2010. Further comparative figures for previous years.
A broad right...
The broad subject matter of applications received across 2010 reflects the huge range of issues that can lead people to make use of their FOI rights.
The most common subject of applications concerned requests relating to administrative issues within Scottish public authorities. These applications cover a wide range of subjects: from the licensing of street traders to the handling of specific complaints; from requests for copies of an authority's internal procedures to enquiries about the facilities available within particular hospitals.
Employment issues were also at the heart of a sizeable proportion of applications, for example, where public authority employees sought information relevant to employment matters. Requests relating to the money spent by public authorities on the delivery of services was also a recurring theme, as were those concerning the expenses claimed by senior members of authority staff.
With regard to 'safety and crime', applications were received in relation to a range of issues, including the use of speed-detection equipment by the police, the handling of criminal investigations, measures taken to ensure safety in schools and, of course, the compassionate release by the Scottish Government of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi.
For more information on the subject and nature of the range of specific applications considered by the Commissioner during 2010, you can view the decisions issued in 2010 here.
In addition, the case studies section of this report provides further details on some of the cases handled over the year.
Subjects of applications 2010
|Administration of the authority||15%|
|Finance / expenses||11%|
|Safety & Crime||7%|
|Transport & Roads||5%|
|Water & sewerage||5%|
|Commercial activities & Contracts||4%|
|Education & Learning||3%|
|Court / legal action (criminal)||2%|
|Court / legal action (civil matter)||1%|
|Agriculture and Fisheries||1%|
|Care (children & older people)||1%|
|Grants & Funding||1%|
|Leisure & Parks||1%|