Policy on the publication of freedom of information responses: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/18/02983  
Date received: 17 October 2018  
Date responded: 29 October 2018
Information requested

1. Please provide a copy of the Scottish Government’s policy on disclosing the  responses* to Freedom of Information requests on the Scottish Government website.

2. Are all responses to FOI requests * disclosed on the Scottish Government website ? If the answer is no, then: 

a)   Who within the Scottish Government holds the authority to decide not to disclose the  response on the SG website? 

b)   Is evidence retained by the Scottish Government of that decision and the reason for non disclosure on the SG website ?

3.   Has a clear policy been established to ensure the timely publication on responses * on the Scottish Government website, e.g. published on website within 3 working days  of response to requester.  If so, please provide a copy of the policy.

Note * This includes responses to original FOI requests, responses to requests for internal review and responses to appeals to the Scottish Information Commissioner.

1.  Under section 25( of the Freedom of Information (Scotand) Act 2002, I can confirm that the information you request is already available in the public domain at: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11021

For your convenience, I have included the pertinent excerpt below: 

On 21 June 2017, Mr FitzPatrick noted: 

“In tandem with improving our FOI performance and as part of our continuing development of the Scottish Government website, I am taking steps to ensure that all information released in response to information requests is also published online from 3 July. Publishing information when it is released will ensure that it is available to all without further requests and will add to transparency. That information will be available on the publications section of the Government’s website at beta.gov.scot.”

I also include an extract from the briefing for that debate and from the relevant section of our SharePoint guidance site for staff, detailing the procedure introduced and their part in it.  In order to further assist, I have also provided a briefing note issued to Information Technology staff about the Data Protection implications of publishing.

Not all responses are published on the Scottish Government website. We endeavour to publish all responses in which information is released. If a response does not release the information requested and provides no insightful or helpful background information, there is deemed to be no value to the public in it being published. There have been a small number of exceptions, such as cases where it may be possible to identify the requester with the content of the response e.g. discussing a particular farmstead/property, therefore breaching Data Protection legislation, where publication would not be appropriate.

a)   A decision not to publish would normally be taken by the Freedom of Information Unit, having consulted relevant policy officials, such as the Scottish Government Data Protection Team.

b)   No, evidence of the decisions made regarding publication are not routinely retained.

3. As stated in previous correspondence with you on 25 September 2018, our aim is to publish information on the same day as the response to the FOI is released. However, there are occasions when publication may be delayed for a number of reasons, such as software problems or pressure of work on our case-handlers and publications officers.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses athttp://www.gov.scot/foi-responses
foi-18-02983 FOI publication summary
foi-18-02983 Motion on transparent government
foi-18-02983 FOI publication guidance


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit 
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government 
St Andrew's House 
Regent Road 

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