Monday, March 10, 2008

SIC Annual Report 2007

The Scottish Information Commissioner has published his Annual Report for 2007. The report also contains the first comprehensive data on appeals received by his office in 2005-07:
"It is now five years since I became Scotland’s first Information Commissioner, and during that time I have been heartened by the determination shown by many –in government, public authorities and the media, as well as by applicants –to make Scotland’s new Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation a success. As this report shows, the extent to which the new rights have become embedded in public life and used on a daily basis has undoubtedly contributed to Scotland’s reputation as having a progressive and effective FOI regime.
In my report this year, I look back at where we have come from, and reflect on how we came to be in the strong position we now occupy, a mere three years since FOISA fully came into force. I reflect on the successes and experiences of 2007, during which many challenges emerged which tested and deepened our understanding of FOISA. I share with you a rich compendium of data and statistics which give the widest picture of FOI in Scotland today, and which I hope you will retain for reference throughout the year."
Highlights of the 2007 Annual Report include:
  • In 2007 alone, the Commissioner dealt with 781 cases and made 249 decisions. 215 applications were closed without investigation and 135 were withdrawn or settled'.Case closure rates have improved year on year – by the end of 2007 the caseload had been reduced to 182 applications.
  • In 2007, the Commissioner greatly reduced the backlog of cases which had built up since 2005, when applications far exceeded expectation. The target remains to close all excess cases by April 2008.
  • Public awareness of the FOI has increased to 74 per cent from 47 per cent in 2005.
  • 77 per cent of appeals came from ordinary members of the public, 7 per cent from elected representatives, 6 per cent from the media and 4 per cent from voluntary/campaigning organisations.
  • 89 per cent of authorities think they have become more open since FOISA, while 64 per cent of the public think they are now more open and accountable.
  • Nearly 1 in 10 respondents to the public opinion survey in 2007 had made a written request to a public authority. 86 per cent of these received all or some of the information they asked for.

SIC press release - Annual Report 2007 published first comprehensive data on FOI appeals
Annual Report 2007 (pdf 987Kb)
Annual Report 2007 - Key Facts (pdf 94Kb)

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