Scottish Commissioner Draws Attention to Tardy Responses

14 August 2014

Almost a quarter of all the valid appeals sent to the Scottish Information Commissioner concern untimely responses.

Rosemary Agnew, Scottish Information Commissioner, included this information in an Aug. 7 report to the Scottish Parliament.

“When authorities don’t respond to requests they are effectively denying an individual’s rights, she said. “This is not only stressful and damaging to requesters; it damages public confidence in authorities and the FOI regime itself.”

Five public authorities out of 34 accounted for 50% of the appeals over failing to respond in the required 20 working days.

There is no evidence of any connection between failures to respond and the size of an authority, nor the volumes of requests it receives, according a summary of the report. “The Commissioner’s experience suggests that where the problem of failure to respond appeals is most acute, the issue may not be just about FOI, but about a relationship issue between authorities and requesters, or types of requesters, or a single issue which is driving request volumes.”

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