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Research finds public awareness and support for FOI at all-time high

Research carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the Scottish Information Commissioner in October 2014 has revealed that public awareness of, and support for, freedom of information (FOI) is at its highest recorded level. The research also shows the public disagree more strongly than ever before with the statement “FOI is a waste of public money”.

The full results are at the bottom of this page. In summary, they show that:

  • 73% of respondents had definitely heard of the FOI Act (compared to 60% in September 2013). 95% agreed that it is important for the public to be able to access information held by public authorities (compared to 93% in September 2013).
  • 94% agreed FOI is important in holding public bodies to account for their spending decisions (compared to 91% in September 2013).
  • 86% strongly disagreed with the statement “FOI is a waste of public money” (compared to 81% in September 2013). Only 3% strongly agreed (compared to 6% in September 2013).

For the first time, the public were also asked for their view on how important certain factors were when the Scottish Government was considering whether bodies should be subject to FOI law.

The results revealed that:

  • 43% said it was essential for the Scottish Government to consider whether the body provides public services paid for with public money. 36% said it was very important, and 17% said somewhat important.
  • Whether the body receives grants or other benefits from public money was an essential consideration for 34%. 35% thought it was very important, and 25% thought it was somewhat important.
  • 38% said it was essential to consider whether the body delivers a service that could be thought of as a public service, like prisons and housing, with 39% rating it as a very important consideration, and 19% finding it somewhat important.
  • Whether the body builds and maintains public buildings like schools and hospitals was thought to be an essential consideration for 42%. 41% thought it was very important, and 14% somewhat important.
  • Whether the body delivers services that used to be state-owned, like railways and energy, was an essential consideration for 33%, a very important consideration for 36% and somewhat important for 24%.

Download the 2014 public awareness survey results:

PDF icon Ipsos MORI Public Awareness Survey Results 2014 Full Data (pdf - 274 kB)

 

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