Guide to information: introducion
The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) provides individuals with a right to request any recorded information held by Scotland's public authorities. Anyone can use this right, and information can only be withheld where FOISA expressly permits it.
Section 23 of FOISA also requires that all Scottish public authorities maintain a publication scheme. A publication scheme sets out the types of information that a public authority routinely makes available.
The Scottish Government has adopted the Model Publication Scheme developed and approved by the Scottish Information Commissioner. The Commissioner is responsible for enforcing FOISA.
The Commissioner's Model Publication Scheme is designed to ensure that authorities meet their obligation to take account of the public interest in providing access to the information that they hold which relates to:
- the services they provide
- the costs of those services
- the standard of those services
- the facts that inform the important decisions they take
- the reasoning that informs their decisions
We have adopted the Model Publication Scheme without amendment and have made the commitment to publish all information we hold which falls within the classes in the scheme. The information we publish is, where possible, available on this website.
In deciding which information to publish we have also given effect to 'six principles of FOI'.
The Scottish Government's six principles of FOI
The Scottish Government:
- supports FOI as an essential part of open democratic government and responsive public services. We support the Act's underpinning principles by encouraging behaviour which is open, transparent and increases public participation
- operates within the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 rather than proposing significant changes to it, but adjusts the regime where it is necessary and sensible to do so. The Act must operate well for both members of the public and Scottish public authorities. We will keep the Act under review by promoting good practice within existing frameworks and considering extending coverage
- publishes information proactively wherever possible. We will publicly demonstrate our commitment to open government and Freedom of Information by ensuring as much information as possible is made available without having to be asked
- maintains the exemptions set out in the Act, in particular to protect 'private space' for Ministers and others to consider advice and reach decisions. The Act provides for responsible openness. We will use the exemptions in the Act where appropriate to protect, for instance, the formulation or development of policy, Ministerial communications, or the uninhibited provision of advice
- maintains effective relationships with the Scottish Information Commissioner and other key stakeholders. We ensure the effective operation of the Act by fostering and maintaining good working relationships on Freedom of Information with stakeholders such as other public authorities and the Scottish Public Information Forum
- creates and shares information thoughtfully with regard to the principles above. To support the effective application of the Act, we create and share information thoughtfully, deliberately and purposefully with a view to upholding the principles above
We have also considered the types of information which are requested from us routinely and whether they could be published by us more proactively.
If you would like to access information not published under the scheme, you can still request it from us under FOISA or, in the case of environmental information, an Environmental Information Request (EIR).
Freedom of Information Unit
St Andrew's House - 2W