The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act made a number of temporary amendments to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act (FOISA). This allowed public authorities some additional breathing space when responding to requests under FOISA, in recognition of pressures associated with the coronavirus outbreak. A number of these changes are now reversed by the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No. 2) Act. This includes a reversal of the previous extension to statutory deadlines for responses and reviews, which have now returned to their original 20 working days.
Nevertheless, the Scottish Information Commissioner continues to recognise that the coronavirus outbreak affects the context in which public authorities – including the Scottish Government – must consider and respond to requests under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004. More information about Covid-19 and FOI is available on the Commissioner’s website.
The second Act provides that while the remaining temporary modifications to FOISA made by the first Act are in force, the Scottish Ministers must report to the Scottish Parliament on certain aspects of their responses to requests for information under FOISA. Our bi-monthly reports to Parliament on Scottish Ministers’ handling of requests under FOISA are available below.
Guidance for public bodies