The Scottish Information Commissioner - It's Public Knowledge
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Personal Information

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Information about yourself or other people.

access to personal information

File Icon What can I ask for?

You can ask to see any kind of recorded information from a Scottish public authority - however old the information is.  That includes information recorded on:

  • paper
  • computer files, including emails
  • video
  • microfiche.

Examples of the information you can ask for include:

  • The number of complaints about a particular issue, for example bullying at school or bin collections, and whether action was taken as a result.
  • Information showing whether public authority policies are working well.  For example, is a community policing initiative reducing crime in the local area?
  • Information that would reveal whether a contract is providing value for money.  For example, what standards have been agreed with agencies contracted to supply hospital cleaning or catering services?

There are more examples of information you can ask for here.


Freedom of information doesn't apply to someone's opinion, if it has not been put on record.  If you are not sure if the information you want is recorded, the authority has a duty to give you advice and assistance, so you can ask them before you make your request.


You might not have to make a special request for the information that you want. It may be published already, through an authority's "publication scheme". See "About publication schemes".



Person IconPersonal Information


The Data Protection Act 2018 and EU General Data Protection Regulation gives you the right to see information about yourself. You can find guidance on how to use this right on the UK Information Commissioner's website 



EIR IconEnvironmental information


The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act does not apply to environmental information, but the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations) give you very similar rights. "Environmental information" covers a broad range of topics, such as:

  • the environment itself, including air, water, earth and the habitats of animals and plants
  • things that affect the environment, such as emissions, radiation, noise and pollution
  • policies, plans and laws on the environment.

See "Definition of Environmental Information" for more detailed guidance on what might be classed as environmental information.





Question Mark IconWhich law?


Whatever type of information you are asking for, you do not have to mention the law when you ask.  It is up to the public authority to decide which law applies to the information you have asked for.


So if you are unsure which law applies to the information you want, do not worry - all you have to do is ask for the information.



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