The Scottish Information Commissioner - It's Public Knowledge
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Cross iconOrganisations not subject to FOI law

Not all organisations in Scotland are subject to FOI law. This means you do not have rights to access the information they hold. Of course, such organisations may choose to respond to you, but you don't have the same legal rights.


Here are some examples of types of organisations that are not subject to FOI law:

  • Individual Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and elected councillors
  • Political parties
  • Companies that are not wholly publicly owned
  • Private law firms
  • Professional or membership bodies e.g. the Law Society, COSLA, trade unions
  • Banks (including those owned by the UK government)

It isn't always so clear for other types of organisations:

  • Registered social landlords (housing associations) fall into a group of bodies that are not subject to the FOI Act, but which are subject to the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004. This means you have rights to ask for environmental information they hold, but you do not have rights to ask for other information. You can read more about this type of body in our Public authorities and bodies covered by the EIRs guidance. 
  • Most charities and voluntary organisations are not subject to FOI law, but there are some important exceptions where the body has been designated by Scottish Ministers.
  • Utility companies, including electricity and gas companies are not subject to the FOI Act, but Scottish Water is a listed authority in Schedule 1 of the Act. So you can ask Scottish Water for any type of information that it holds.

If you are thinking about making a request, but  not sure whether you have a legal right to ask, we recommend you first contact the organisation. If you encounter problems or need help, you are welcome to contact us



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