Collection

Freedom of information (FOI): document collection

This document collection brings together key information relating to Freedom of Information.


Introduction

Requesting information

Find out how to request information from us.

See our guide to information which sets out what we publish and how it should be made available and includes our six principles of FOI.

Post-legislative scrutiny of FOISA

During the 2016-2021 session of the Scottish Parliament, the Parliament’s Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee carried out post-legislative scrutiny of FOISA.  The Scottish Government responded to the Committee’s report on 25 February 2021.

Publication of FOI responses

We are committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests.

View all FOI responses.

Scottish Information Commissioner intervention 

In November 2017, the Scottish Information Commissioner announced an intervention to consider how the Scottish Government handles FOI requests.

Our action plan was agreed by the Commissioner in November 2018.

Further information, including correspondence with the Commissioner is also published.

We are implementing the FOI improvement action plan agreed with the Commissioner as part of FOI improvement project

Coronavirus

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.

Performance reporting

We publish monthly figures and annual reports on our performance and response times for handling Freedom of Information requests. Previous published annual reports can be accessed at the links below.

Previous FOI reporting information can be found in our archive.

Guidance for public bodies

Extension of FOI coverage

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act (FOISA) can be extended to bodies that carry out functions of a public nature or which provide, under a contract with a Scottish public authority, a service which is a function of that authority.

This can be done by making an order under section 5 of FOISA, which designates those bodies as a Scottish public authority for the purposes of the legislation.

We carried out a public consultation between 30 August and 3 December 2019 on the future use of Scottish Ministers section 5 powers. We published our analysis of the consultation responses on 6 March 2020.

Extension of FOI coverage to registered social landlords

In November 2019 a section 5 order extending FOISA to Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) and their subsidiaries came into effect. The Scottish Information Commissioner has published his report on the experiences of RSLs one year on from their designation.

We have published a business regulatory impact assessment (BRIA), an equality impact assessment (EQIA) and a child rights and wellbeing impact assessment (CRWIA) of the planned FOI coverage extension to registered social landlords. 

Contact

Email: foi@gov.scot

Post:
Freedom of Information Unit
Scottish Government
St Andrew's House - 2W
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG