Our Performance

Applications overview

Freedom of information gives you a right to the information held by Scotland's public authorities. If you are unhappy with the way in which an authority deals with your request for information, you can bring an application to the Scottish Information Commissioner.

On receipt of a valid application, the Commissioner will investigate, and will require the release of information if he finds that it has been wrongly withheld.

Cases disposal by stage – 2008-2010*

2008 2009 2010
of cases
of cases
of cases
Brought forward from previous year 183 130 165**
New applications 367 421 408
Total caseload 550 551 573
Cases closed without investigation:
Frivolous or vexatious 0 0 0
Premature or out of time 17 18 17
Withdrawn or abandoned 19 11 11
Settled 0 0 0
Excluded under s48 10 7 7
Insufficient detail to investigate 20 11 7
Body not covered 18 6 5
No request for review made 34 35 40
No request to public authority 7 28 11
Other deficiency 0 1 0
Sub-total: 125 117 98
Cases closed during investigation:
Withdrawn or abandoned 51 59 64
Settled 65 41 44
Frivolous or vexatious 2 1 1
Other 3 2 0
Sub-total: 121 103 109
Cases closed with decision:
For applicant 37 55 61
For authority 83 57 85
Partially upheld 54 54 103
Sub-total: 174 166 249
Total cases closed 420 (76%) 386 (70%) 456 (80%)
Total cases carried forward to next year 130 (24%) 165** (30%) 117 (20%)

* This table displays data from 2008-2010. Data from previous years is available in our 2009 Annual Report.

** Approximately one quarter of the 2009 cases carried forward were done so as a result of cases being set aside pending the outcome of appeals to the Court of Session in 2010

Application figures – breakdown

The volume of applications received during 2010 was broadly consistent with our predicted applications over the year, with 98% of forecast applications being received. There was a 3% decrease on 2009, where the actual number of applications significantly exceeded the forecast volume.

The number of cases closed without investigation continued to decline over the year, with a drop of 16% on 2009 figures. This suggests that there is an increasing awareness among applicants of the FOI appeal process, with fewer applicants making invalid appeals e.g. by failing to fulfil the requirements for an application set out in section 47(2) of the FOI Act.

There was also a significant increase in the volume of decisions issued by the Commissioner during 2010, with 50% more decisions issued this year than in 2009. The specific nature of the applications considered by the Commissioner over the year resulted in proportionally fewer cases closing prior to decision.

An increasing proportion of applications in 2010 were made in relation to the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (the EIRs). The EIRs sit alongside Scotland's FOI Act, and provide similar rights of access to the environmental information held by public authorities and other bodies. More information on the EIRs is available here.

It's in your hands...

For further information on how you can make use of the FOI rights, visit www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourRights.

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