Freedom of information (FOI) Improvement Plan 2024

The Minister for Parliamentary Business made a commitment to continuing the improvement process when he wrote to the Scottish Information Commissioner in October 2023.

The plan is structured around the five areas of concern identified by the Scottish Information Commissioner in his fourth progress report on the Intervention into FOI performance in Scottish Government.
The following areas of improvement were raised by the Scottish Information Commissioner –

Clearance Procedures
Quality Assurance
Case File Records Management
Case Handling 
FOI Monitoring Requests

Clearance procedures

Criteria for Decision Making
Minimise gaps between agreed procedures and organisational practise. Request/Review journey reflects agreed processes and is the precursor to reduced handling time.
Expected Completion: Spring 2024

Delays and bottlenecks
Seek a reduction in average time taken to respond both for requests and reviews in line with the statutory timescales.
Expected Completion: Autumn 2024

Scottish Government's FOI Expertise
Continue to invest in the experience and expertise of the FOI Unit to enable it to steer, shape and support good practice and develop a retention of expertise in the Scottish Government system.
Expected Completion: Autumn 2024

Quality Assurance

Provide reliable, informative reports to inform strategic direction. This will support a range of training and development needs.
Expected Completion: Summer 2024

Case Files - Records Management

Record Keeping
Deliver a project to improve FOI record-keeping practices across the Scottish Government, with particular focus on recording special adviser names and advice, the rationale for any ministerial decisions and the reasons for any divergence from FOI Unit advice.
Expected Completion: Autumn 2024

Case Handling

FOI Network 
Establish a sustainable case-handling model for Scottish Government which provides a network of skilled case-handlers which is fit for purpose, resilient and responsive to the increasing volume and complexity of Scottish Government's cases.
Expected Completion:  Late Autumn 2024

Decision Making
Enhance and develop decision making processes ensuring the understanding of all staff.
Expected Completion: Spring 2024

Tracking monitoring and reporting own performance
Develop current tracking systems and procedures to fully deliver reporting required on a weekly/monthly basis.
Expected Completion: Early Spring 2024

Monitoring FOI Requests

Late Cases
Establish a sustainable late case management model providing focus on late cases to senior staff whilst minimising late cases.

Expected Completion: Summer 2024

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