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What is a valid appeal?

A valid appeal is one where you have been through the authority's review procedure, you provide the Commissioner with the information needed to investigate your complaint, and you have told the Commissioner what you are unhappy with. Your appeal is most likely to be valid if you use the Commissioner's online appeal service.

Ask yourself all of the questions below to check if your appeal is valid. Alternatively, please see our detailed guidance on making a valid appeal.

 

Does my appeal concern a Scottish public authority?

The Commissioner can only investigate appeals about Scottish public authorities that are subject to the FOI Act or the EIRs. There are also some limited circumstances where the Commissioner does not have the power to investigate.

You must be able to answer YES to these questions.

  • Is the organisation a Scottish Public Authority subject to the FOI Act or the EIRs?
    Find out more: Who can I ask?
  • Is the organisation one that the Commissioner can investigate?
    Find out more: When we can't investigate

 

Have I asked for a review?

The Commissioner cannot take action until you have asked the authority to review its decision and allowed 20 working days for it to reply.

You must be able to answer YES to this question.

 

Have I taken account of the FOI timescales?

The FOI Act and the EIRs set timescales about when you can request a review and when you can make your appeal.

For example, the Commissioner cannot take action until you have asked the authority to review its decision and allowed 20 working days for it to reply. If the authority replies before the 20 working days are up, you can go straight to the Commissioner. When calculating working days, remember to allow time for posting.

Please note: changes were made to FOI law between 7 April and 26 May 2020 by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act, which temporarily extended the maximum timescales in which a public authority could respond to a request for information or review from 20 to 60 working days. For more information, please visit www.itspublicknowledge.info/covid19.

You must be able to answer NO to these questions.

 

What needs to be in my initial request?

You must be able to answer YES to these questions.

  • Is the request in writing? (This is not a requirement for EIRs requests)
  • Does the request describe the information I'm looking for?
  • Have you provided, in the body of the request:
    • your real name, and
    • an address for correspondence?
  • Find out more: How do I ask?

 

What needs to be in my request for a review?

You must be able to answer YES to these questions.

  • Did you make the request for a review in writing?
  • Does the request for review say:
    • why you are unhappy, and
    • which request the review is about?
  • Have you provided, in the body of the request for review:
    • your real name, and
    • an address for correspondence?
  • Find out more: Asking for a review

 

What needs to be in my appeal?

The best way to make sure your appeal is valid is to use the Commissioner's online appeal service. You don't need to use this service, but doing so will ensure that you provide all of the information the Commissioner needs to investigate your case quickly.

You must be able to answer YES to these questions.

  • Is the appeal made in writing or using the Appeal Portal?
  • Does the appeal say:
    • which request your appeal is about, and
    • why you are unhappy with the response to your request for review?
  • Have you provided, in the body of the appeal:
    • your real name, and
    • an address for correspondence?
  • Have you included copies of:
    • your original request,
    • the authority's response,
    • your request for review, and
    • the authority's response to your review request?
  • Making an appeal to the Commissioner

 

See also:

How to make an application to the Scottish Information Commissioner (PDF - 253KB)

 

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