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Scottish Government FOI Policy Statement

The Scottish Government is accountable to the people of Scotland, and their representatives, for all that it does on their behalf.  A cornerstone of that accountability is the Government’s commitment to being open and transparent across all of its activities.  This commitment is reflected in the Government’s approach to handling requests for information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) and the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs) as described in Freedom of Information – The Scottish Government's Six Principles.

The Scottish Government ensures that all staff are aware of our practices and procedures for handling requests in accordance with the Six Principles through detailed FOI[1] guidance which, along with training material, is published on internal and external FOI SharePoint sites.

At Cabinet level the Deputy First Minister has overall strategic responsibility for FOI,  and co-ordinating Ministerial responsibility for FOI policy and practice lies with the Minister for Parliamentary Business.  Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers are responsible for FOI requests within their portfolios.

Senior oversight is provided by the Director General for Strategy and External Affairs who has lead responsibility for FOI policy and operation across the Scottish Government and its Agencies.  Individual business areas are responsible for dealing with individual requests and for proactively publishing information about the business area’s activities.  Accordingly, individual Directors and Agency Chief Executives are responsible for monitoring FOI performance in their areas and for ensuring the necessary support for staff responding to requests and reviews.

Central support for staff in the Scottish Government and its Agencies is provided by the FOI Unit which:

  • provides advice on handling individual requests and reviews, as well as advice on FOI generally;
  • clears all review responses;
  • handles all appeals to the Scottish Information Commissioner, with input from the relevant Directorate; and
  • provides all FOI guidance and training.

 

Scottish Government
FOI Unit
January 2014

 

[1] In this Statement ‘FOI’ refers to both the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.