Reviews and appeals
(e) Number of requests subject to an internal review
34. We have interpreted this as relating to the number of requirements for review (in accordance with section 20(1) of FOISA) that were received at any point during the reporting period, regardless of the date on which the request to which the requirement for review relates was received or responded to.
35. The number of requirements for review in this category is 76.
(f) Backlogs in the internal review process
36. Under section 21(1) of FOISA, a Scottish public authority must respond to requirements for review promptly, and in any event by not later than the 20th working day after it receives the request.
37. We have interpreted “backlogs in the internal review process” as meaning requirements for review under FOISA which:
(a) were not answered by the 20th working day after receipt; and
(b) remained unanswered at the end of the reporting period on 26 November 2020.
38. The number of requirements for review in this category is 10.
(g) Appeals made to the Commissioner in respect of requests
39. A person who is dissatisfied with the outcome of a requirement for review (or by the failure of a Scottish public authority to respond to such a requirement) may apply to the Commissioner for a decision whether the request for information has been dealt with in accordance with Part 1 of FOISA, in accordance with section 47(1) of FOISA. Such an application to the Commissioner is commonly referred to as an appeal.
40. As applications for a decision are made to the Commissioner, and not to the Scottish public authority in question, the authority may not immediately be aware that such an application has been made. This is because the application first goes through a validation process before the authority is given notice of it and invited to comment in terms of section 49(3) of FOISA.
41. Accordingly, we have interpreted this as relating to applications made to the Commissioner for a decision in accordance with section 47(1) of FOISA that are:
(a) made in relation to a request for information made to the Scottish Ministers; and
(b) received by the Commissioner during the reporting period.
42. We have asked the Commissioner to confirm the number of applications for decision that meet these criteria. The Commissioner has advised that the number is 11.