Freedom of Information

SLCC: GUIDE TO INFORMATION AVAILABLE THROUGH OUR PUBLICATION SCHEME

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (the Act) requires Scottish public authorities to produce and maintain a publication scheme. Authorities are under a legal obligation to:

•           publish the classes of information that they make routinely available

•           tell the public how to access the information and what it might cost.

The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) has adopted the Model Publication Scheme 2011 produced by the Scottish Information Commissioner. He has approved this scheme until 31 May 2015. You can see this scheme here or by contacting us at the address below.

The SLCC's Publication Scheme is available here PDF Guide to Information Available Through our Publication Scheme (PDF, 332 KB)

REQUESTING INFORMATION NOT AVAILABLE THROUGH OUR PUBLICATION SCHEME

From 1 January 2005, the general entitlement to information under Section 1 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) enables any member of the public to make a request for information that is not published through the SLCC's publication scheme.

You must make your request in writing or in any form that can be kept for future use, for example, an audio recording or video tape. Please address your request to the Freedom of Information and Data Protection Officer, and include your name, address, and details of the information you require. It is also helpful if you include an email address or telephone number so we can contact you for clarification if necessary.

We appreciate, you may not be sure of the information you need so if this is the case, please feel free to telephone us to discuss your request.

We aim to respond to your request for information as soon as possible. In most cases we must reply within 20 working days.

Exemptions

We will be as open as possible and aim to supply the information asked for whenever we can. However, information may be withheld where we consider that the disclosure may fall within one of the exemptions contained in FOISA.

Information which is exempt from disclosure under FOISA includes information which is personal data under the Data Protection Act 1998. It is important to keep a balance between public access to information and the privacy rights of individuals. Authorities which hold personal information have responsibilities under the Data Protection Act 1998 and may be committing an offence if they give out personal information to other people.

Section 26 of FOISA provides that information the disclosure of which is prohibited by any other act is exempt. This applies to the SLCC because Section 43 of our governing legislation, the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007 restricts us from disclosing information about complaints except in certain circumstances.

If any of the information you have requested is withheld under FOISA we will write and explain which exemptions have been applied and our reasons. Even where an exemption exists, wherever possible we will provide copies of documents with the exempted information edited out (this editing is often referred to as 'redacting' or 'redacted information').

Charging

Information available via our website is free to download.  If you request information under FOISA, the SLCC may charge you for it. 

Our charges for FOISA requests are based on estimated costs of staff time to locate and retrieve information, plus any costs associated with putting the information into a particular format, copying and postage costs. We do not charge for the time taken to determine whether we hold the information requested, or the time it takes to decide whether the information can be released. The charge for supplying information is:

  • Free for the first £100 - the requestor may be asked to pay copying charges
  • Over £100 - the requestor will be charged 10% of the SLCC costs and copying charges
  • Over £600 - the SLCC does not have to supply the information

In calculating any fee, staff time will be calculated to a maximum £15 per person per hour. The standard charge for photocopying is 10p per A4 sheet. Any documents which require specialist copying or printing will be charged at cost to the SLCC.

We will always tell you if there is likely to be a charge before we provide the information.

All fees are to be paid in advance. We will issue a fees notice to the requestor explaining how the fee has been calculated. The SLCC is not obliged to provide any information until the fee is paid.

The SLCC FOISA charging follows the guidance of the Scottish Information Commissioner, available here.

 Unhappy with our response

If you have waited 20 working days and have not received a response to your request under FOISA, or you have received a response but you are unhappy with our decision, you can request a review.

You must request a review within 40 working days after the end of the 20 working day period for responding to your request for information, or after the date of the response. You should write to the FOISA Reviewing Officer at the SLCC (our contact details are available on our website). You should receive a response within 20 working days.

Your right to an appeal

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of this review, you have a right under section 47 of FOISA to appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner.  If you wish to do so, you must appeal to the Commissioner within six months following the date of receipt of this review notice.  The Commissioner's contact details are as follows:

The Scottish Information Commissioner

Kinburn Castle

Doubledykes Road

St Andrews

Fife

KY16 9DS

Email: enquiries@itspublicknowledge.info

Tel: 01334 464610

Where applicable, should you wish to appeal against a decision made by the Commissioner, there is a right of appeal to the Court of Session on a point of law only. Any such appeal must be made within 42 days after the date of intimation of the Commissioner's decision notice.

Further information about your general rights to access information and the functions of the Scottish Information Commissioner can be found on his website.

Email: enquiries@itspublicknowledge.info

Web: http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/

Environmental Information

If you want information about the environment, your request will be dealt with under separate environmental information rules called the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations (EIRs).

If you require environmental information you can make a verbal request.

Charging

EIRs do not require charges to be made, but Scottish public authorities have discretion to make a reasonable charge for environmental information.  For simplicity and consistency the SLCC applies the same charging regime as that used for FOISA (detailed above).

Access to personal information about yourself

There is no right to see personal information about yourself FOISA but you do have rights to request and receive your own personal data under the Data Protection Act 1998 (a request like this is usually referred to as a 'subject access request').

The SLCC will charge you £10 for each subject access request you make.

You must make your request in writing. Please address your request to the Freedom of Information and Data Protection Officer at the SLCC, and include your full name and address and any other information to help identify you and the information you need. You should receive a response within 40 calendar days of receipt of the information needed to identify you and the information you need.

If you are unhappy with our handling of a request for your personal information, you can complain to the (UK) Information Commissioner.  This is the independent public official who enforces rights to personal information. His office can give you advice on your rights under the Data Protection Act 1998. His main office is based in Wilmslow, Cheshire and he has a regional office in Edinburgh:

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Tel: 0303 123 1113 (or 01625 545745)

Fax: 01625 524510

Email: casework@ico.gsi.gov.uk

Web: http://www.ico.gov.uk/

 

Scotland

Information Commissioner's Office
45 Melville Street
Edinburgh
EH3 7HL

Tel: 0131 244 9001

Email: Scotland@ico.gsi.gov.uk

 

Wales

Information Commissioner's Office
2nd Floor
Churchill House
Churchill Way
Cardiff
CF10 2HH

Tel: 029 2067 8400

Fax: 029 2067 8399

Email: wales@ico.gsi.gov.uk

 

Northern Ireland

The Information Commissioner's Office
3rd Floor, 12 Cromac Place,
Gasworks
Ormeau Road
Belfast
BT7 2JB

Tel: 0303 123 1114

Email: ni@ico.gsi.gov.uk