Guides to Information

Authorities adopting the Commissioner's Model Publication Scheme must publish a Guide to Information they make available (through the Scheme).

We can only provide an overview here. We strongly recommend that you read the Commissioner's Guide to the Model Publication Scheme below.

Model Publication Scheme: Guide for Scottish Public Authorities (updated March 2021)

What is a Guide to Information?

A Guide to Information is an index of information the authority publishes and it explains how to access it. It is up to the authority how it publishes its Guide and what it looks like, but:

  • it must say what information is published under each "class" of information in the Scheme, and
  • the information must be made available in a way that is consistent with the Model Publication Scheme principles.

Classes of information

There are nine classes of information in the Model Publication Scheme. They broadly describe the types of information that authorities must publish.

  • Class 1: About the authority
  • Class 2: How we deliver our functions and services
  • Class 3: How we take decisions and what we decided
  • Class 4: What we spend and how we spend it
  • Class 5: How we manage our human, physical and information resources
  • Class 6: How we procure goods and services from external providers
  • Class 7: How we are performing
  • Class 8: Our commercial publications
  • Class 9: Our open data

The Commissioner's Guide for Scottish Public Authorities provides a list of the types of information that we would expect authorities to publish under each class.

The Model Publication Scheme Principles

These principles govern how authorities must make their published information available:

  • Availability and formats: information should, wherever possible, be made available on the authority's website. There must be an alternative arrangement for people who cannot or do not want to access the information online or by visiting the authority.
  • Exempt information: authorities do not have to publish information that would be exempt under Scottish FOI law.
  • Copyright and re-use: any copyright and restrictions on re-use of published information must be explained.
  • Charges: There can be no charge to view published information except where there is a statutory fee. Any charges for providing information e.g. copies, must be published and must be set at the level it costs the authority to provide it. Authorities can charge a market value for publications sold e.g. through a retail outlet.
  • Advice and assistance: authorities must give contact details for help to find and request information.
  • Duration: once published, information should generally be available for the current and previous two years.


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