FOI and EIRs Statistics

Every 3 months, Scottish public authorities send us data about the freedom of information (FOI) and environmental information (EIRs) requests they have received, and how they have responded. Below you can find out how to access the data, and public authorities can submit their latest statistics.

Using FOI and EIRs statistics data

From mid-January 2022, statistics data will be downloadable from this page, rather than via the previous report-generating tool, which is no longer available. The Commissioner aims to develop a new, improved tool to allow easier viewing of authorities' data in 2022-23. 

In the meantime, if you need any help with finding or analysing FOI/EIRs data, please contact us.

What statistics do we collect?

The list below details the range of statistics we collect and provides more detail on what data should be submitted under each section (this guidance is also available within the portal).

List of quarterly statistics requested by the Commissioner (Excel - 25 KB)

When should authorities submit their statistics?

Submissions are required approximately five to six weeks after the previous quarter closes, to give authorities time to collect the data and report it to us. So, for 2021 and 2022, the dates are:

From To Submission required by Link to submit
1 October 2021 31 December 2021 4 February 2022
1 January 2022 31 March 2022 6 May 2022
1 April 2022 30 June 2022 5 August 2022
1 July 2022 30 September 2022 4 November 2022


Guidance for Public Authorities


***Please note: From January 2022, the Scottish Information Commissioner's FOI/EIRs statistics portal has moved to a new platform. You will be asked to submit the same data, at the same times of the year, but using a simpler portal. We've made the change and improvements based on feedback from authority contacts. If you need any help submitting your statistics, please contact us.

Submitting quarterly statistics

Use the portal link for the quarter you are submitting statistics for, which you can find in the table above. You won't need a username or password; just click on the link, select your organisation type and name, and enter all the required data. You will only be asked to submit data which will be publicly available (so no personal data). You can enter everything and submit in one visit, or save and come back to it later. When you're ready to submit your statistics, click the Finish button on the final page.

Data included in submission

Data submitted should relate to actual activity in the relevant quarter i.e. requests received in that quarter and decisions made in that quarter. Please note, this means the number of requests received may not be equal to the number of decisions, or responses sent, as a request and the relevant decision may occur in different quarters.

Entering data

Every box in the Requests, Reviews and Exemptions/Exceptions sections should be populated - even if the figure is 0. To make the process quicker, zero is set as the default for most answers,. More information and advice is provided next to each question.

You can enter everything and submit in one visit, or save and come back to it later by clicking 'Finish later' at the bottom of any section. Please ensure you complete and submit your statistics by the deadline.

Completing a submission

Once you have entered a full and accurate set of data and you are ready to submit, click the finish button on the final page. Please note that once you do this, you will be unable to access or edit your submission (although you will be able to download a PDF of the statistics you have submitted).

Each quarter, we will upload the data submitted by authorities to this page so it can be viewed publicly, and we will also use it as part of our quarterly analysis of authority performance, so it's important that your submission is full and accurate. If you need to make any corrections after you have submitted, please contact us.

Updating contact details

We don't currently have a way for you to update your contact details online. If there are any changes to who is responsible for submitting your authority's statistics, please contact us to let us know, so we can send you updates and reminders.


FAQs


Why do I need to submit data?

We ask authorities to submit data about their requests to see how FOI is used in Scotland. Authorities should already be recording this data, in accordance with Section 2 of the Section 60 Code of Practice, and this information should therefore be available under FOI. Asking authorities to submit statistics on a quarterly basis ensures that the data is accurate, complete and easily accessible.

What happens to the data that is submitted?

Each quarter, the Commissioner's staff upload data submitted by authorities to this page so it can be viewed publicly. This open data is for authorities and others to use for benchmarking and research. The data is also used by the Commissioner to monitor and assess trends in activity and performance.

The Commissioner has the power to assess good FOI practice within an authority, and this data is used when deciding whether an intervention based on non-compliance with FOI law is necessary. See our Interventions page for more information.

Does "Number of requests received under the Data Protection Act" refer to subject access requests?

Yes. We are collecting this data to enable us to see how the number of FOI and EIR requests authorities receive compares to the number of subject access requests they receive, and to set FOI and EIRs activity in the context of wider information rights requests.

What happens where an authority's FOI statistics are currently gathered and reported by another authority?

Some small authorities who share their administrative functions with another authority (e.g. some licensing boards and non-Ministerial Officeholders) don't collect their statistics separately at the moment. If an authority can provide its own data, that is preferable, but if it can't, the authority should let us know which authority will be providing it on their behalf, so we can make a note of this, and ensure its reflected in the reports.

Who can use the data?

The data is available for anyone to use, including researchers, journalists and the public, as well as public authorities. Available statistics date back to 2013, when the portal was first used.

Please be aware that the data is submitted directly by public authorities. It is not checked or verified by the Commissioner and the Commissioner is not responsible for its quality or accuracy. Data is added to this page each quarter by the Commissioner's staff, taken directly from data submitted by authorities.


Where do I go for help?


If you're having any problems using the statistics portal and you can't find an answer above you can contact us for further advice.


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