The Scottish Information Commissioner FAQ


Who is the Scottish Information Commissioner?

Daren Fitzhenry took up post as Scottish Information Commissioner in October 2017 and has been appointed to serve a fixed term of six years.  Daren is the third Scottish Information Commissioner.  Read Daren's biography to find out more.

How was the Commissioner appointed?

The post of Commissioner was advertised by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body in the Scottish national press.  Candidates were interviewed by a committee of MSPs set up for the purpose.  

Once a preferred candidate is selected, a motion to nominate the candidate is debated in the Scottish Parliament.  The nomination is made by the Scottish Parliament to HM The Queen, who appoints the Scottish Information Commissioner.


What does the Scottish Information Commissioner do?

The Commissioner is appointed to promote and enforce the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act, making sure that public authorities release the information you are entitled to see.

Anyone who believes they have not received information to which they are entitled can appeal to the Commissioner. Following investigation, the Commissioner will determine whether the public authority concerned should provide the information requested. The Commissioner has powers to enforce these decisions, and will also take steps to promote good practice by public authorities.

Find out more about your rights under freedom of information (FOI).



How independent is the Commissioner?

The role of the Commissioner is completely independent of the Scottish Government or any other public authority. The Commissioner has to make an annual report to Parliament and is accountable for finances to the Parliament and to the Auditor General. The Commissioner employs staff to assist with the enforcement and promotion of Scotland's freedom of information laws.  

Can the Commissioner help me retrieve personal information which public bodies hold about me?

No, access to your own personal information is regulated by the Data Protection Act which is overseen by the UK Information Commissioner's Office (the ICO), not the Scottish Information Commissioner.

Visit the ICO's website


What's the difference between the Scottish Information Commissioner and the UK Information Commissioner?

The Scottish Information Commissioner and the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) have separate roles and responsibilities. Broadly speaking, the Scottish Information Commissioner is responsible for the freedom of information compliance of all public authorities in Scotland, while the ICO is responsible for public authorities in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and for any agencies operating in both Scotland and another part of the UK. The ICO also covers Data Protection rights (personal information) for the whole of the UK, including Scotland.


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