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Publication - FOI / EIR Release

Number of FOI requests received by Scottish Government: FOI release

Published: 4 Jul 2017

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

FOI reference: FOI/17/01242
Date received: 1 June 2017
Date responded: 21 June 2017

Information requested

  1. The number of FOI requests received by the Scottish Government in each year since and including 2011?

  2. The percentage of FOIs that were responded to within the statutory 20 day limit for each year since and including 2011?

  3. The number of FOIs that were refused on the grounds that the Scottish Government does not hold the relevant information for each year since and including 2011?

  4. The number of FOIs on minutes of ministerial correspondence that were refused on the grounds that the Scottish Government did not retain the minutes of the relevant meeting?

  5. The accumulated days over the statutory limit for all FOIs received by the Scottish Government in each year since and including 2011?

  6. The longest time taken to answer an FOI request to the Scottish Government in each year since and including 2011?

  7. The number of FOIs in each year that were refused on the grounds of Section 30 of the Freedom of Information Act?

  8. The number of FOIs that were refused in each year where a restructure means that the Scottish Government no longer the relevant information?

Response

1. The number of FOI requests received by the Scottish Government in each year since and including 2011?

2. The percentage of FOIs that were responded to within the statutory 20 day limit for each year since and including 2011?

3. The number of FOIs that were refused on the grounds that the Scottish Government does not hold the relevant information for each year since and including 2011?

For the years 2011 to 2015, all of the information you have requested is available from the Scottish Government's FOI Annual Reports which are published on our website at: http://www.gov.scot/About/Information/FOI/Reporting. 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.

An exemption under section 27(1) of FOISA applies to all of the information requested for the year 2016 because we intend to publish that information in our next FOI Annual Report by the end of July, which is within 12 weeks of the date of your request. We consider that it is reasonable to withhold the information until that date, rather than release this routinely published information before the planned publication date.

This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is a public interest in the release of information about the Scottish Government's handling of FOI requests, and this will be met by our planned publication. In the meantime, there is a greater public interest in taking the time necessary to ensure the information has been properly collated and checked before it is published as planned. Also, we see no public interest in disrupting our programme of work to release the information ahead of the intended publication date.

4. The number of FOIs on minutes of ministerial correspondence that were refused on the grounds that the Scottish Government did not retain the minutes of the relevant meeting?

5. The accumulated days over the statutory limit for all FOIs received by the Scottish Government in each year since and including 2011?

6. The longest time taken to answer an FOI request to the Scottish Government in each year since and including 2011?

8. The number of FOIs that were refused in each year where a restructure means that the Scottish Government no longer holds the relevant information?

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested in each of these 4 questions would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. This is because we have no business need to keep a record of the particular information you have requested.

For question 4, minutes of Ministerial meetings may not be specifically requested but may still fall within the scope of a request, and so to find the information you have requested we would need to individually review every FOI response where some or all of the information has not been provided in each of the years since and including 2011.

For questions 5 and 6, for each of the 5 years we would need to look at each late response individually to calculate by how many days it was late. Then we would need to look through those results to identify the case which took longest to answer, and also add up the numbers of days to find the accumulated total.

For question 8, the reason why we don't hold requested information would be explained only in the response which was sent. So, to find the information you have requested, we would need to examine every FOI response where we did not hold information, to see if restructuring was the reason.

The figures published in our FOI Annual Reports, mentioned in the response to your questions 1, 2 and 3 will give you an idea of the number of responses which would need to be reviewed.

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, however, wish to consider reducing the scope of your request in order that the costs can be brought below £600. For example:

You could limit question 4 to requests where minutes of Ministerial meetings were specifically requested;

You could limit questions 5 and 6 to one year, rather than 5 years;

For question 8, if you could specify any particular restructures in which you are interested, or limit your request to specific Directorate(s) of the Scottish Government.

You may also find it helpful to look at the Scottish Information Commissioner's 'Tips for requesting information under FOI and the EIRs' on her website at: http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourRights/Tipsforrequesters.aspx.

7. The number of FOIs in each year that were refused on the grounds of Section 30 of the Freedom of Information Act?

For each of the years covered by your request, the numbers of requests refused under one of the section 30 exemptions were:

2011: 35
2012: 73
2013: 73
2014: 41
2015: 112
2016: 95

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 Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

Published:
4 Jul 2017
Number of FOI requests received by Scottish Government: FOI release