Making an information request to the Commissioner

The Commissioner is a public authority and is subject to freedom of information law. So we must respond to requests for information that we hold and provide advice and assistance to requesters.

We welcome requests and try to be as helpful as possible.

This page aims to help you get the information you want to see and explains the types of information we hold and what we can and cannot give out.

How to make your request to us

Make your request in writing or in another recordable format. Please do read the following guidance about what we do and do not hold as it may save you time.

You must provide:

  • Your full name (in the main body of your request)
  • Contact details so that we can respond (an email address will do)
  • A description of the information you want.

See also our:

FOI Tips for Requesters

You do not need to say why you want the information, but telling us may help us to identify the information you are asking for.

Send your request to us by email to or by post to:

Scottish Information Commissioner, Kinburn Castle, Doubledykes Road, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9DS

If you need help to make your request, please contact us.

What information do we hold?

Most of the information we hold is about our function to promote and enforce freedom of information laws. So we have lots of reports, background information, correspondence about how we do our work, records of business decisions and internal procedures.

Our Guide to Information points you to the information we already publish and shows other types of information that may be of interest to you.

You are also welcome to contact us to discuss whether we are likely to hold information you would like to see.

Information we do not hold

If you want to see information about another authority, you need to make your request directly to that authority. For example, if you want to know about the plans of a local council, you need to make your request to the council. You can find the contact details for all authorities on our Who can I ask? page.

We don't generally hold other authorities' information except where we need to see it for an investigation (see information in case files below), and even then we hold it only for a limited time.

Information in our case files

We investigate cases where requesters are unhappy with an authority's response to an information request. We publish as much as we can about current appeals – see our . We also publish Decision Notices which set out the facts of each case and our considerations.

We can't generally disclose information from our investigation case files because:

  • It could be a criminal offence for us to disclose information gained from authorities to investigate a case.
  • Authorities need to be able to expect they can give us frank submissions without them being disclosed. There is a considerable risk that if we were to disclose such information, authorities would refuse to give us the information we need to carry out our role and so provide requesters with a good service. Submissions also often contain references to withheld information. Although we don't share actual submissions, we do take great care to ensure that people making appeals to us are kept up to date with the progress of their cases and the arguments we are considering.

What personal information do we hold?

We hold a range of personal information to perform our functions. We are registered as a data controller with the Information Commissioner's Office (the ICO). Our policies ensure that we process personal data carefully and lawfully. You can find out more about how we manage personal data by reading our privacy statement.

You have a right to request any personal information we hold about you. Write to us at the above address. We will ask you to provide us with proof of your identity, for example, a passport, driving licence, etc., so it is a good idea to enclose this with your request.

Will there be a charge?

In most cases we do not charge for information that is not your personal information. There will only be a charge if you have asked for a lot of information. In these cases we'll contact you and tell you about the potential cost and offer ways that you might narrow your request to get what you want without a charge. If you want to go ahead, we wait until the charge is paid before information is disclosed.

Requests for your personal information (subject access requests) are different. We may charge a maximum of £10 for processing such requests. Our general policy is not to charge but we might if, e.g., complying with your subject access request is likely to be very time-consuming or your personal data is reasonably accessible to you in another way.

Our charging policy can be downloaded below.

Our Reuse and Charging Policy

What happens next?

When we receive an information request, we first check that have enough information about what you would like us to send you. We may contact you if we need to clarify your request or discuss how best to provide the information you want to see. We will then search our record holdings for the information you have requested.

In most cases we will be able to send you the information. In any case we will send you what we can and, if it applies, a full response explaining why we can't provide it all. We will respond within 20 working days (or 1 calendar month if you have asked for personal information about yourself).


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