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Publication - FOI/EIR release

Number of Freedom of Information requests received: FOI release

Published: 14 Feb 2018
Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
Published:
14 Feb 2018
Number of Freedom of Information requests received: FOI release

FOI reference: FOI/18/00062
Date received: 10 January 2018
Date responded: 7 February 2018

Information requested

In 2017:

What was the number of Freedom of Information requests received by the Scottish Government?

What was the number of Freedom of Information requests refused by the Scottish Government?

What was the average response time by answering a Freedom of Information request?

The amount of received requests answered within the 20 working days limit?

The number of requests answered with 'no information provided' or 'held'?

The number of responses that exceeded the appropriate time/cost limit to answer the request?

The number of complaints received in regards to Freedom of Information requests/responses?

Response

I have responded to each part of your request below:

What was the number of Freedom of Information requests received by the Scottish Government?

In 2017 the Scottish Government received 3046 Freedom of Information requests.

What was the number of Freedom of Information requests refused by the Scottish Government? The number of responses that exceeded the appropriate time/cost limit to answer the request? and The number of requests answered with 'no information provided' or 'held'?

It is not always appropriate for us to release information. Under section 16 of FOISA (Refusal of request) a Scottish public authority will correctly refuse a request where exemptions apply. I attach this section of the Act at Annex A. Information can be withheld from an applicant on the basis of one or more of the exemptions or exceptions laid down in FOISA or the EIRs. In such cases, we will fully explain to an applicant why we are unable to provide the information, for example, for reasons of confidentiality or because it is personal data.

In 2017 information was withheld in full on these grounds in response to 387 Freedom of Information requests. This includes 88 responses under section 12(1) of FOISA where the cost of compliance would exceed the appropriate time/cost limit to answer.

In addition, we responded under section 17(1) of FOISA stating that no information was held within the scope of the request in response to 466 requests in 2017.

What was the average response time by answering a Freedom of Information request?

The Scottish Government does not record the average response times for Freedom of Information requests.

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

The amount of received requests answered within the 20 working days limit?

The Scottish Government does not hold figures for the number of request answered within the 20 working days limit. We record whether cases were answered on time based upon the statutory deadline for that case. This may include EIR requests where the deadline has been extended by up to an additional 20 working days. We have therefore interpreted your request as asking for the number of cases that were answered within the statutory deadline. In 2017the Scottish Government answered 2441 requests within the statutory deadline.

The number of complaints received in regards to Freedom of Information requests/responses?

You may find it helpful to note that under FOISA, where an applicant expresses dissatisfaction in relation to a response to a request for information or in relation to the way in which their request has been dealt with, this would be recorded as a review request rather than being recorded as a complaint and processed in accordance with our obligations under FOISA.

In 2017 there were 264 requests for reviews received in relation to Freedom of Information replies/processes. This is less than 9% of the total number of FOI requests answered in 2017.

Reasons for not providing information

16 Refusal of request

(1)Subject to section 18, a Scottish public authority which, in relation to a request for information which it holds, to any extent claims that, by virtue of any provision of Part 2, the information is exempt information must, within the time allowed by or by virtue of section 10 for complying with the request, give the applicant a notice in writing (in this Act referred to as a "refusal notice") which—

(a)discloses that it holds the information;

(b)states that it so claims;

(c)specifies the exemption in question; and

(d)states (if not otherwise apparent) why the exemption applies.

(2)Where the authority's claim is made only by virtue of a provision of Part 2 which does not confer absolute exemption, the notice must state the authority's reason for claiming that, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs that in disclosure of the information.

(3)The authority is not obliged to make a statement under subsection (1)(d) in so far as the statement would disclose information which would itself be exempt information.

(4)A Scottish public authority which, in relation to a request for information, claims that section 12(1) applies must, within the time allowed by or by virtue of section 10 for complying with the request, give the applicant a notice which states that it so claims.

(5)A Scottish public authority which, in relation to such a request, claims that section 14 applies must, within that time, give the applicant a notice which states that it so claims; except that the notice need not be given if—

(a)the authority has, in relation to a previous identical or substantially similar such request, given the applicant a notice under this subsection; and

(b)it would in all the circumstances be unreasonable to expect it to serve a further such notice in relation to the current request.

(6)Subsections (1), (4) and (5) are subject to section 19.

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