Received Freedom of Information request including YouTube link: FOI release

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

Information requested

How many FOI requests included YouTube links in asking for Freedom of Information in:- 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021.

Before 2016 IE 2012 to 2016


While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600.

I have carried out a high-level search of our electronic records and document management (eRDM) system, where all FOI requests received by the Scottish Government are stored. This indicates that we hold over 42,000 documents that include the text 'FOI' and 'YouTube'. Of these, almost 41,000 are Outlook messages, which is the format in which we receive (and save) most FOI requests.

However, our eRDM search function does not find words or phrases contained within embedded hyperlinks and we have no way of determining whether FOI requests include such YouTube links without checking individual requests. Between 2012 and now, we received over 24,000 requests (over 8,000 between 2012 and 2015 and over 16,000 between 2016 and now). I attach, for information, a document showing the number of requests received by the Scottish Government each year from 2012. Checking each of these requests manually for YouTube links would significantly breach the cost limit.

Under section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12.

You may wish to consider submitting a narrower request in order that the costs can be brought below £600. For example, if there is a particular context in which you think requests are likely to have been submitted incorporating links to content on YouTube, then it might be helpful if you can share that with us to help us identify and locate the information that might be of interest to you.

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

FOI202100165236 - Information released


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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