Decisions Round-up: 3 to 7 November 2014


We published three decisions between 3 and 7 November – details, links and learning points below.


        Key messages:

  • Where you say you don’t have the information, it’s important you can evidence that you’ve carried out proper searches
    Where you’ve told a requester that you don’t hold some or all of the information they’ve asked for, it’s important you can evidence the searches you’ve carried out. 

    In Decision 227/2014, we asked for and were provided with evidence showing the searches the authority had carried out.  We also considered the authority’s records retention policy, before concluding that comprehensive and proportionate searches had been undertaken to find any relevant information held. 


  • On the other hand, be reasonable in your expectations
    If an authority has no continuing need to retain information, it might not hold it. In Decision 227/2014, we accepted that it wasn’t reasonable to expect it to hold some information dating back to events in 2006.


  • If the requester expresses dissatisfaction with your response, treat this as a request for review
    A requester doesn’t have to specifically say they’re asking you to carry out a review. If the requester states in writing (or another permanent form) why they are unhappy with the response, then it’s likely they have made a request for review and it should be treated as such.  In Decision 229/2014 the authority overlooked a request for review and so failed to respond on time.


  • And remember, only one review can be carried out
    If you haven’t responded to the initial request (see Decision 228/2014), but only respond when you’re asked to carry out a review, the next step is for the requester to appeal to us.  You can’t carry out a second review.  


    Decisions issued:

  • Decision 227/2014: Mr Niall MacKinnon and Education Scotland
    Mr MacKinnon asked Education Scotland for correspondence about a school inspection and information about meetings.  Education Scotland informed Mr MacKinnon that it did not hold the information.  Following an investigation, we accepted this.


  • Decision 228/2014: Mr Jim Fraser and East Dunbartonshire Council
    Mr Fraser asked the Council for information about its service level agreement with Celtic FC.  The Council failed to respond to the request and request for review within the 20 working days.


  • Decision 229/2014: Dr John Welford and South Ayrshire Council
    Dr Welford asked the Council for information about the Council’s processes for obtaining a Young Scot card.  The Council responded with the information provided to parents, an explanation of the process and some statistics on uptake of the card.   We investigated and accepted that the Council had provided all of the information it held that was covered by the request.  We also found that the Council failed to respond to Dr Welford’s request for review within the 20 working days.

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