The Scottish Information Commissioner - It's Public Knowledge
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Chart IconFOI and EIR statistics database

Since April 2013, Scottish public authorities have been providing the Scottish Information Commissioner with data about the information requests they receive, on a quarterly basis via a statistics portal.

Now into our third year of data collection, we are beginning to build a valuable information resource. Self-reported by each public authority, data is publically available through the statistics portal.

What statistics are we collecting?

The schedule below details the range of statistics we collect. To help authorities, guidance on what information should be submitted under each section can be accessed within the portal. 

Excel FileSchedule of quarterly statistics requested by the Commissioner (Excel - 25 kB)

When should authorities submit their statistics?

Submissions are required approximately six weeks after the previous quarter closes, to give authorities time to collect the data and report it to us.  So, for 2016-17, the dates are:

From  To  Submission required by: Publication date* 
 1 July 2016  30 September 2016 10 November 2016  24 November 2016
 1 October 2016  31 December 2016 9 February 2017  23 February 2017
 1 January 2017  31 March 2017 11 May 2017  25 May 2017
 1 April 2017 30 June 2017 10 August 2017  28 August 2017
 1 July 2017 30 September 2017 9 November 2017  23 November 2017
 1 October 2017 31 December 2017 8 February 2018  22 February 2018
1 January 2018 31 March 2018 10 May 2018  24 May 2018

 

Question Mark IconFAQs for public authorities submitting statistics

 

How do authorities submit their data?

Data should be submitted via our easy-to-use online data entry portal, available at https://stats.itspublicknowledge.info

When we first started collecting data, we sent each authority a unique user ID and password, to be kept safe and used to access the system.  Access to an individual authority's data is secure. Although the authority will be identifiable in the downloadable reports, no other authority is able to view or amend an individual submission to the database.  The authority can save its data part way though, and go back to complete it if they need to. The authority can also amend any of the data it's entered, if it needs to change anything. Once ready, the authority simply clicks "submit", and we will receive its submission.

 

What happens where an authority's FOI statistics are currently gathered and reported by another authority?

Some small authorities who share their administrative functions with another authority (e.g. some licensing boards and non-Ministerial Officeholders) don't collect their statistics separately at the moment.  If an authority can provide its own data, that is preferable, but if it can't, the authority should let us know which authority will be providing it on their behalf, so we can make a note of this, and ensure its reflected in the reports. As we gain experience of collecting and reporting the statistics, we will work with authorities to explore how we can address issues such as these. 

 

Does "Number of requests received under the Data Protection Act" refer to subject access requests?

Yes. We are collecting this data to enable us to see how the number of FOI and EIR requests authorities receive compares to the number of subject access requests they receive. 

 

Should authorities report a request on the date that it is received, or on the date on which the authority responds to it?

We ask authorities to provide data which relates to receipts in that quarter and decisions made in that quarter.  Data provided should relate to activity in the quarter when the event/action took place.  This means that the full dataset will show the actual activity within each quarter. 

We are aware this has led to a change of practice for a few authorities, but taking this approach makes the dataset much stronger.  This approach is in line with the requirement of the section 60 code published by Ministers.  It also means that over time, as more data is added, we will be able to form a picture of the flow of FOI activity.

 

What happens if an authority needs to change the data it has already submitted?

Authorities are able to go into previous submissions and change their data e.g. if an authority has recorded a request under FOISA in one quarter but it becomes clear later that it should have been logged under the EIRs. The system will show us if the authority changed its data.

 

What happens if an authority loses or forgets its login details?

Where an authority loses or forgets its password or login deatils, it should contact the Scottish Information Commissioner's office for help. If necessary, passwords can be reset by our office.  

 

What do we publish, and when?

We provide a simple report generator which is accessible via this page, allowing anyone to download a machine-readable (CSV) report of the submitted data. Users can select specific quarters, regions or sectors to filter the data.

Quarterly data is publishedapproximately eight weeks after the end of the quarter.  So for example, for January to March 2015, the deadline for submitting data was 8 May 2015 (approximately six weeks after the end of the quarter) and the publication date was 25 May 2015 (approximately eight weeks after the end of the quarter).

 

Telephone IconWhere do I go for help?

Contact us on 01334 464610 or email enquiries@itspublicknowledge.info for support.

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