Scottish Fiscal Commission Publication Scheme

Freedom of Information, EIR & Data Protection

You have statutory rights to access information held by public authorities, which are also required to proactively publish information.

The sections below:

• Explain how to access information held by the Scottish Fiscal Commission; and
• provide information about the Freedom of Information legislation, Environmental Information legislation and policy background.

The Guide to Information sets out how the Commission makes information available through the Scottish Information Commissioner's model publication scheme.

How to Access Information - Your right to request information

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) gives you the right to ask us for any recorded information which we have.  The Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs) give you a similar right to ask us for environmental information.  You do not have to mention this legislation in your request.

Anyone anywhere can make a request for information – there are no restrictions on age, nationality or where you live.

How to request information from the Scottish Fiscal Commission

Your request must include:

• your full name;
• an address for correspondence – this can be a postal or e-mail address; and
• a description of the information you want.

You do not need to say why you want the information but, if you do, it may help us to find the particular information you are looking for.  You can also specify how you want the information to be provided, for example electronically or as paper copies.  If possible, please provide a daytime telephone number so that we can contact you if we have any questions about your request.

You can send us your request by:

E-mail to: FOIrequests@fiscalcommission.scot 

Writing to:

Scottish Fiscal Commission - FOI Requests,
Governor’s House, Regent Road,
Edinburgh, EH1 3DE

Help:   If you have any questions about requesting information, or if you need advice on making a request to the Commission, you can write or send an e-mail to the above addresses or phone 0131 244 0738  (Office Hours: 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Thursday, 09:00 to 16:30 on Friday).

You may also find it helpful to look at the Scottish Information Commissioner’s guidance before you make your request – see links below.

What happens next?:  We first check that we have enough information from you to find what you are looking for.  We may contact you if we need you to clarify your request.  We will then search our records for the information you have requested.  Our aim is to provide information whenever possible.  In any case, you should receive a full response from us promptly and within 20 working days.

Cost:  The Scottish Fiscal Commission does not charge for answering information requests but we may refuse to provide information if the cost of doing so would exceed £600.

Guidance:  The Scottish Information Commissioner has published information on your rights to access information from Scottish public authorities and a leaflet Your Right to Know - a guide to FOI in Scotland, setting out your rights in more detail, is also available on the Commissioner’s website.

Both of these include:

• Advice and tips on how to make a request;
• What to do if you’re unhappy with the response to your request;
• Your right to appeal to the Commissioner.

Personal data

If you are looking for information about yourself, you must make a 'subject access request' under the Data Protection Act 1998.

The Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations

The Commission will follow the National Archives “Guidance on the Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015 and Best Practice Advice – For Public Bodies” in order to meet our commitment under The Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015.

Guide to Information Published by the Scottish Fiscal Commission

This guide to information sets out how the Scottish Fiscal Commission makes information available through the Model Publication Scheme.  It provides you with details of the publication scheme, how you can access this information, our policies on charging, copyright and records management, and how to request information not covered by the scheme.

The Guide is split into the following sections:

1. Introduction to the Publication Scheme
2. Availability and formats
3. Information that we may withhold
4. Our charging policy
5. Our copyright policy
6. Our records management and disposal policy
7. How to access information which we do not publish
8. Charges for information available only through request
9. Contact us

Introduction to the Publication Scheme

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) provides individuals with a right to request any recorded information held by Scotland’s public authorities. Anyone can use this right, and information can only be withheld where FOISA expressly permits this.

Section 23 of FOISA also requires that all Scottish public authorities maintain a publication scheme.  A publication scheme sets out the types of information that a public authority routinely makes available.

The Scottish Fiscal Commission has adopted the Model Publication Scheme 2016 developed and approved by the Scottish Information Commissioner. The Commissioner is responsible for enforcing FOISA.

The Commissioner’s Model Publication Scheme is designed to ensure that authorities meet their obligation to take account of the public interest in providing access to the information that they hold which relates to:

• the services they provide;
• the costs of those services;
• the standard of those services;
• the facts that inform the important decisions they take; and
• the reasoning that informs their decisions.

The Scottish Fiscal Commission has adopted the Model Publication Scheme 2016 without amendment. We have therefore made a commitment to publish all information which we hold which falls within the classes of information in the scheme.  The information we publish through the model scheme is, wherever possible, available on our website.

The Commission is committed to publishing information proactively whenever possible.  We will also consider the types of information which are requested from us routinely and whether they could be published by us more proactively.

If you would like to access information not published under the scheme, you can still request it from us under FOISA or, in the case of environmental information, the EIRs.  For further information on accessing information we do not publish, see "How to access information which we do not publish" below.

Availability and formats

The information we publish through the model scheme is, wherever possible, available on our website. We offer alternative arrangements for people who do not want to, or cannot, access the information online. For example, we can usually arrange to send information to you in paper copy (although there may be a charge for this).

Online:

Information listed is available to download from our website.  Alternatively, you can use our website’s “Search” facility.   If you are still having trouble finding any information set out in this guide, then please call the general enquiry line on 0131 244 0738. You can also email us at: FOIrequests@fiscalcommission.scot 

If the information you seek is listed on our website but you are unable to download it, we can usually send it to you by email.  When requesting information from us, please provide a telephone number so that we can telephone you to clarify details, if necessary.

Please send your request for information to: FOIrequests@fiscalcommission.scot 

By post:

Information listed on our website is also available in paper copy form, although there may be a charge for it.  Please address your request to:

Scottish Fiscal Commission - FOI Requests,
Governor’s House, Regent Road,
Edinburgh, EH1 3DE

When writing to us to request information, please include:

• your name and address;
• full details of the information or documents you would like to receive;
• any payment (if you know the applicable fee);
• a telephone number so we can telephone you to clarify any details, if necessary.

Information that we may withhold

All information published in this guide can be accessed either through our website, or by asking us for it.

Our aim in maintaining this publication scheme is to be as open as possible.  You should note, however, that there may be limited circumstances where information will be withheld from publication.  Information will only be withheld, however, where FOISA (or, in the case of environmental information, the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004) expressly permits it. Information may be withheld, for example, where its disclosure would breach the law of confidentiality, harm an organisation’s commercial interests, or endanger the protection of the environment.  Information may also be withheld if it is another person’s personal information, and its release would breach the data protection legislation.

Where we withhold information we will remove it or redact it before publication and explain why. Even where information is withheld it may, in many cases, be possible to provide copies with the withheld information edited out.

If you wish to discuss further any information which has been withheld from you, please contact us at 0131 244 0738.

Our charging policy

Unless otherwise stated below under charges for information available only through request, all information contained within our scheme is available from us free of charge where it can be downloaded from our website or where it can be sent to you electronically by email.

We reserve the right to impose charges for providing information in paper copy. Charges will reflect the actual costs of reproduction and postage to the Commission, as set out below.

In the event that a charge is to be levied, you will be advised of the charge and how it has been calculated. Information will not be provided to you until payment has been received.

Reproduction costs

Where charges are applied, photocopied information will be charged at a standard rate of 10p per A4 side of paper (black and white copy) and 30p per A4 side of paper (colour copy).

Postage costs

We will pass on postage charges to the requester at the cost to the Commission of sending the information by first class post.

We are required by the Equality Act 2010 to take steps to meet the needs of people who share a relevant protected characteristic. In terms of access to information, this means making reasonable adjustments to our practices to ensure that information is physically accessible. This may, for example, involve producing information in a larger script or different format where it is practicable to do so. The costs of this will be met by the Commission.

Our copyright policy

The Scottish Fiscal Commission is a Crown body and the information we produce is subject to Crown copyright, which is administered by the Queen’s Printer for Scotland.  The material listed in this publication scheme is Crown copyright unless stated otherwise.

You may use and re-use Crown copyright information published through this Guide free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms and conditions of the Open Government Licence, provided it is reproduced accurately and not used in a misleading context.  Where any of the Crown copyright items published through this guide are being republished or copied to others, the source of the material must be identified and the copyright status acknowledged.

Our records management and disposal policy

The Scottish Fiscal Commission has in place Record Retention and Disposition Schedules in respect of all documents that it creates and holds.  These Schedules set out the lengths of time for which all types of records must be held.  This means that, whilst FOISA is retrospective, it is only possible to provide copies of records that are still in existence. 

How to access information which we do not publish

If the information you are seeking is not available through this website, then you may wish to request it from us.

For details on how to request information held by the Commission, please follow the guidance set out above.

Charges for Non-environmental information

The Scottish Fiscal Commission does not charge anyone for making requests for, nor for providing, information under FOISA.  We may, however, refuse to deal with a request where we estimate that it will cost more than £600 to locate, retrieve and provide the information.

Charges for Environmental information

The Scottish Fiscal Commission does not charge anyone for making requests for, nor for providing, environmental information under the EIRs, up to a limit of £600.  Thereafter we may charge the full cost of providing the information.

In the event that we decide to charge for the full cost of a request under the EIRs costing over £600, we will issue you with notification of the charge and how it has been calculated. If you decide not to proceed with the request, there will be no charge to you.

Charges are calculated on the basis of the actual cost to the authority of locating, retrieving and providing the environmental information:

• Photocopying is charged at 10p per A4 sheet for black and white copying, 30p per A4 sheet for colour copying.
• Postage is charged at actual rate for first class mail.
• Staff time is calculated at actual cost per staff member hourly salary rate to a maximum of £15 per person per hour.

Contact us

Our aim is to make our Guide to Information as user-friendly as possible, and we hope that you can access all the information we publish with ease.  We are obliged to review our Guide to Information from time to time.  We therefore welcome feedback on how we can develop it further.  If you would like to comment on any aspect of this Guide to Information, then please contact us.  You may, for example wish to tell us about:

• other information that you would like to see included;
• whether you found it easy to use;
• whether you found the Guide useful;
• whether our staff were helpful;
• other ways in which our Guide can be improved.

Please send any comments or suggestions to:

Scottish Fiscal Commission - FOI Requests,
Governor’s house, Regent Road,
Edinburgh, EH1 3DE

Email: FOIrequests@fiscalcommission.scot

You have legal rights to access information under this scheme and a right of appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner if you are dissatisfied with our response.  These rights apply only to information requests made in writing* or another recordable format.  If you are unhappy with our response to your request you can ask us to review it, and if you are still unhappy, you can make an appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner.

The Commissioner’s website has a guide to this three step process, and operates an enquiry service on Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm.  The Commissioner's office can be contacted as follows:

Scottish Information Commissioner
Kinburn Castle
Doubledykes Road
St Andrews
Fife
KY16 9DS

Tel: 01334 464610

Email: enquiries@itspublicknowledge.info

Website: www.itspublicknowledge.info
*verbal requests for environmental information carry similar rights.