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*
|Brought forward from previous year||183||130||165**|
|Cases closed without investigation:|
|Frivolous or vexatious||0||0||0|
|Premature or out of time||17||18||17|
|Withdrawn or abandoned||19||11||11|
|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|
|Cases closed during investigation:|
|Withdrawn or abandoned||51||59||64|
|Frivolous or vexatious||2||1||1|
|Cases closed with decision:|
|Total cases closed||420 (76%)||386 (70%)||456 (80%)|
|Total cases carried forward to next year||130 (24%)||165** (30%)||117 (20%)|
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.