Freedom of information requests received by Scottish Government: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/18/00717
Date received: 7 March 2018
Date responded: 3 April 2018

Information requested

Thank you for your request dated 7 March 2018 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for information relating to Freedom of Information requests received by the Scottish Government.


Question 1

The total number of FOI requests received by the Scottish Government between 01/01/2018 and 07/03/2018. 690 FOI requests were received between 1st January 2018 and 7th March 2018.

Question 2 and 3

The total number of those FOI requests which were deemed to require ministerial sign off or approval.

The total number of those FOI requests in which one or more Special Advisers were in any way involved in the response.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not hold the total figure you have requested in parts 2 and 3 of your request. This is because our FOI database will only hold a record of the lead action officer at request, review and appeal stage of a case. It does not hold a central record of other individuals who are asked to consider or contribute to a request. This is because there is no requirement under FOISA or business need to record this information centrally.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. As you are aware from our response to your request reference FOI/18/00569, whenever a new FOI request is registered, a new case file is created on our Electronic Records & Data Management system for information relating to that request.

Therefore, you may find it helpful to note that although we do not hold the total numbers you have requested we would be able to extract information which would allow us to compile the number of cases where information is held which confirms whether a case has been considered by Special Advisers or required Ministerial sign off. To do this we would need to open, and review the information contained in each individual case file. We may also need to ask the lead action officer involved in answering the FOI request to check that all the relevant information relating to your request is recorded in the case file. If we were to consider this approach for the 690 cases over the three month period of your request this would be likely to exceed the upper cost limit under Section 12.

As your request is limited to the number of cases, this means that we would only need to consider the time it would take to review the information held to the extent that it would allow us to confirm if the case has been considered by Special Advisers or required Ministerial sign off. We have therefore estimated that we would be able to provide this information for a maximum period of two weeks. Although the number of request received varies, a two week period would cover approximately 150 cases. Alternatively, you may wish to identify specific request(s), a specific business area or a particular topic which requests relate to that you are interested in.

You may also find it helpful to look at the Scottish Information Commissioner's 'Tips for requesting information under FOI and the EIRs' on his website at:

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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