FOI - User experiences

Individuals, voluntary sector organisations and campaigners have used their rights to access a wide range of information from public authorities across Scotland - with FOI sometimes making the difference between the success or failure of a campaign.

The case studies below provide some examples where people have used FOI to help them achieve their goals. You can click on the links to hear each person talk about the impact that FOI has had for them.

"Freedom of information gave a lot of power to our campaign"

The C-Diff Justice Group is run by families affected by the Clostridium Difficile outbreak at the Vale of Leven Hospital in 2008 which claimed many lives. FOI was an integral part of the group's campaign to understand what happened - and prevent it happening again. Hear Michelle Stewart from the group talk about her experiences. (Link to external video hosting website - a text-only alternative is also available).

"FOI helped us to highlight the concerns of Scotland's most vulnerable people"

The Learning Disability Alliance Scotland used FOI to find out how many people with learning difficulties were being housed inappropriately in care homes for the elderly. Listen to Ian Hood from the Alliance talk about their FOI use. (Link to external video hosting site - a text-only alternative is also available).

"FOI is an excellent way of establishing a basis of fact for any campaign"

The Scottish Rural Schools Network have used FOI as part of a number of successful campaigns to prevent the closure of rural schools in Scotland. Sandy Longmuir of the Network talks about the impact FOI has had for them. (Link to external video hosting website - a text-only alternative is also available).

"The authorities were very helpful, and the information provided was exactly what we were looking for"

Community group the A82 Partnership has been using FOI as part of its ongoing campaign for the upgrading of the A82 - a vital lifeline for the local community. Stewart Maclean of the partnership discusses his experiences. (Link to external video hosting website - a text-only alternative is also available).

"FOI opened up information that we couldn't have got any other way"

The disabled persons' organisation Inclusion Scotland used FOI as part of work to improve the quality and availability of housing for people with disabilities across Scotland. Inclusion Scotland's Bill Scott discussing FOI at the Scottish Parliament's Festival of Politics (MP3 audio file).


These are just some of the examples where FOI has helped to make a difference for people.

If you'd like to share your experience of using FOI or just want some more information, we'd be delighted to hear from you. Our contact details are available here.

Find out more...

Your rights - Explore our practical guidance on making a request and what to do if you don't get what you're looking for.

Voluntary sector homepage - Visit our homepage for the voluntary sector.

Hints and tips - Read our hints and tips on how voluntary organisations can get the most out of FOI.

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