Publication - FOI/EIR release

Freedom of Information (FOI) statistics from 2018 onwards: FOI release

Published: 12 Jan 2022

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

Published:
12 Jan 2022
Freedom of Information (FOI) statistics from 2018 onwards: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100256052
Date received: 17 Nov 2021
Date responded: 16 Dec 2021
Information requested

1. The number of FOIs dealt with by the Scottish Government in a) 2021 b) 2020 c) 2019 d) 2018.

2. The number of FOIs not responded to within the 28 day time frame in a) 2021 b) 2020 c) 2019 d) 2018.

3. The number of FOIs not responded to within 20 days of receiving confirmation following a clarification request a) 2021 b) 2020 c) 2019 d) 2018.

4. The number of FOIs responded to within 28 days a) 2021 b) 2020 c) 2019 d) 2018.

Response

Questions 1, 2 and 4

As a preliminary matter, I should explain that in interpreting your request, we have understood your reference to “the 28 day time frame” and “within 28 days” as being a reference to the requirement in section 10(1) of FOISA that Scottish public authorities should respond promptly, and in any event not later than 20 working days after receipt of a request – 20 working days usually equates to around 28 calendar days. The figures that you have requested in regards to question 1, 2 and 4 for 2018 and 2019 can be found at in the “requests for information” section of our 2018 and 2019 annual reports on information request handling:

Freedom of Information (SCOTLAND) Act 2002: Information Request Handling - Annual Report 2019 - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Information request handling: annual report 2018 - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

It may be helpful if I explain that these figures include requests handled by National Records of Scotland (i.e. the Keeper of the Records of Scotland and the Registrar General for Scotland). While the Keeper and the Registrar General are separate Scottish public authorities for the purposes of FOISA, information about their requests has historically been included in our annual reports. It might therefore be confusing (particularly when making comparisons with previous annual reports) if we attempted to disaggregate this information now.

In relation to 2020 and 2021, I have compiled the answers to questions 1, 2 and 4 in the following table. In light of my explanation above as to the inclusion of NRS requests in this total, I have provided the requested information for 2020 and 2021 with the NRS requests included (for ease of comparison with earlier years) and also with those requests excluded, in case this is of interest.

Question

 

2021

2020

 

 

 

 

1

No. of FOIs responded to by Scottish Government

4,312

3,409

2

No. of FOIs not responded to within 20 working days

780

475

4

No. of FOIs responded to within 20 working days

3,532

2,934

Question

 

2021

2020

 

 

 

 

1

No. of FOIs responded to by Scottish Government (incl NRS)

4,611

3,536

2

No. of FOIs not responded to within 20 working days (incl NRS)

793

486

4

No. of FOIs responded to within 20 working days (incl NRS)

3,818

3,050

The figures for 2021 include statistics up to and including the date of your request (17 November 2021).

The figures for 2020 and 2021 are the information held in our case management system as at the date of your request. You may wish to be aware that, as part of the process of producing our annual reports, we undertake a process of validating and confirming our case management information to ensure its accuracy before publication. As a result, when we publish our annual reports for 2020 and 2021, it is possible that the published information may vary slightly for 2020 given the validation process. There is likely to be a more substantial variation for 2021 because the information held at the date of your request excludes the final six weeks of the year. Again, this information will be checked and validated before inclusion in the 2021 annual report.

More widely, I should explain that while executive agencies of the Scottish Ministers generally use our case management system and their figures are included because they form part of the same authority as the Scottish Ministers, I have not included information about the Scottish Prison Service ("SPS"), which has an entirely separate FOI handling system. SPS has historically reported its statistical information to the Commissioner separately, and we consider that including SPS information in this response would potentially be confusing, as this information is never normally aggregated with that of the Scottish Ministers.

Question 3

In regards to question 3, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. The Scottish Government does not have this information (i.e. about the number of FOIs not responded to within 20 days of receiving confirmation following a clarification request) because it has no business need to monitor how many cases are responded to more than 20 working days after receipt of a the further information needed to clarify a response. We have considered carefully whether this information could, nevertheless, be extracted from our case management system. However, we have concluded that none of our standard reporting tools would allow us to extract the information you are seeking. We have spoken to the developers of our case management system, and we understand that a new report would have to be created to extract this information. Accordingly, we consider that collating the information would require skill and complex judgement, and so we do not hold it.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

Outwith FOISA, you may be interested to know that we issued 68 requests for clarification in 2020 and 85 in 2021, and so requests for clarification are only issued in a small proportion of requests.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG