Thursday, January 05, 2006

Scotland: new advice on pseudonyms

From the Scottish ICO:

"As a result of legal advice, the Commissioner has changed his guidance on how public authorities should deal with requests made under a pseudonym. Although the Commissioner previously advised that an applicant could use a pseudonym, updated guidance makes it clear that for an application to be valid, the actual name of the applicant must be used. The Commissioner will not investigate cases where a pseudonym has been used. The Commissioner has prepared a new FAQ for public authorities, suggesting ways of dealing with applications made under a pseudonym."

See the FAQs page.

"Applicants who have made a request under a pseudonym may wish to contact the Commissioner for advice on how to proceed"

The first Scottish 50 decision notices

From the latest newsletter:

"By the end of December the Commissioner will have issued more than 80 decisions. On 21 November, the Commissioner issued his 50th decision notice. Analysis of the first 50 decisions shows that they have covered a wide range of public authorities and a wide range of subjects. The majority of cases decided so far involved central and local government, with 18% of decisions involving the Scottish Executive and its agencies and 60% involving local authorities, from the Western Isles to the Dumfries & Galloway."

"The Commissioner has found in favour of the applicant in 34% of those cases. He has found in favour of the public authorities in 42% of cases and has partially upheld the decision in favour of the applicant in 24% of cases. Where cases have been “partially upheld”, the Commissioner has often found that public authorities were correct to withhold information but that the authorities have failed to comply properly with one of the technical aspects of the freedom of information legislation, e.g. by failing to issue a proper refusal notice or by failing to provide adequate advice or assistance to the applicant."

"Two decisions have been appealed to the Court of Session. The Commissioner has been advised that it is unlikely, however, that the first case appealed will be considered by the Court of Session until November 2006."

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