Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions regarding Freedom of Information requests.

Are there any restrictions on what I can do with information I get if I make a request under the Freedom of Information Act?

Information provided to you by a Scottish public authority might be subject to copyright protection. You do not have a right to re-use such information in a way that would infringe copyright (for example, by making multiple copies). To re-use the information, you might need to obtain the permission of the copyright owner. An authority should tell you if this applies to any information it provides to you.

Can I do whatever I want with information that I get from the Council?

No. The Council owns the copyright in most of the information it holds.

Can I request personal information held by the Council?

You already have a right of access to personal information which we hold about you under the Data Protection Act 1998. You can request personal information that we hold about other people under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Do I have to say why I want information if I make a request under the Freedom of Information Act?

You do not have to tell a Scottish public authority why you want the information that you request.

Does the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 only apply to records created from 1st January 2005, when it came into force?

The Freedom of Information Act is fully retrospective, subject to the Public Records Act, and covers all permanent material including CCTV, digital and paper records. You can ask for information from any time period, not just from January 2005, and if we have it we will let you have access to it.

How can I make a request for information?

Your request must be in some sort of permanent form, so that there's a permanent record of it. This could be a letter, e-mail or handwritten note. If you are unable to write or get a friend to write for you, you can send your enquiry on video or audio tape.

How long do authorities have to respond to a request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002?

Under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, we have twenty working days to respond to your request, from receipt of the enquiry.

Is access to personal information covered under the Freedom of Information Act?

Access to personal information is already covered by the Data Protection Act 1998. Under the Data Protection Act, you have the right to access information specifically about you which is held on computer and in some paper files. Data Protection is the responsibility of the UK Information Commissioner, not the Scottish Information Commissioner, who has a responsibility for Freedom of Information in Scotland.

What if English is not my first language and I want the Council to provide information under the Freedom of Information Act?

You can tell us how you would prefer information to be provided when you request it. We will make every effort to meet your needs, by arranging for information to be translated, by providing an interpreter or by making other arrangements for you to obtain information in a way which is acceptable to you. We will not make any additional charge for this service.

What sort of information can I request under the Freedom of Information Act?

You can request any recorded information, in any form and of any age, under the Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) 2002.

Who is responsible for monitoring compliance with the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002?

The Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) is responsible for ensuring that all public authorities comply with the Act.

Will I be able to see all relevant information if I make a request for information from the council?

We will always make as much information available as possible. However, there are certain circumstances where the Council is legally permitted to withhold information from you. If we propose to withhold information, we will tell you why. You have the right to appeal about any information which is being withheld from you.

Will I be charged a fee for obtaining information under the Freedom of Information Act?

Most requests for information will be free. However, the Council is allowed to charge a fee for answering some requests for information. If we plan to charge a fee, we will tell you what the fee will be before we provide the information. We will not provide the information until any fee is paid.