The main strands of the Act
The Act has three main strands: individual requests, the publication scheme, and records management.
The Act entitles anyone from anywhere in the world to request access to any information held by 'Scottish public authorities' as defined by the Act. For the purposes of the Act, the University of Edinburgh is a Scottish public authority.
A request does not need to mention the Scottish Freedom of Information Act. Public authorities must provide the requested information within 20 working days, or issue a statement explaining why the request cannot be met.
There are exemptions for some material but most of the exemption categories are narrow and many are subject to the public interest test.
More information on request handling procedures is available on this site.
Guide to Information
Freedom of information legislation requires the University to proactively publish certain types of information, through what is called a "publication scheme". For example we publish information about:
- how we make decisions and governance arrangements
- policies and procedures
- the services we provide to students, staff and others
- how we manage research
- our finances.
We produce a "Guide to Information" which helps you to find and access the information we make available through our publication scheme. It also explains how you can make a freedom of information request for other recorded, University-held information.
Freedom of information guide to information
The Act required the Scottish Ministers to issue a code of practice providing guidance on records management, known as the Section 61 code of practice.
Records management allows an organisation to know what information it has, where it is kept and how long to keep it.
Proper records management has obvious benefits for organisations that are subject to freedom of information requests. More information about records management at the University is available on the records management guidance pages.