A is for Access Rights
The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 Act gives people new rights to access recorded information held by public authorities

B is for Be Prepared
The Act comes into force on 1st January 2005

C is for Codes of Practice
There are two codes of practice under the Act. One code provides guidance on records management and the second provides guidance to public authorities to help them comply with the Act

D is for Data Protection
Requests for information, which would breach data protection principles, will be exempt under the Act. Access requests for personal data will still be dealt with under the Data Protection Act, 1998

E is for Exemptions
There are 17 categories of exempt information in the Act which are divided into two types – ‘absolute’ and ‘non-absolute’

F is for Fees
Although some information will be provided free of charge, there is a Statutory Structure Fee in place which allows public authorities to charge for providing information

G is for Get Ready
For queries from individuals, companies, journalists, politicians etc asking about the information we hold

H is for Helpful
………… at all time to those who are seeking information

I is for Information Commissioner
The Information Commissioner is appointed by Scottish Parliament to oversee and enforce the implementation of the Act. Check out their web site at: http://www.itspublicknowledge.info

J is for Justification
Any requests for information which we refuse must be justified and meet with one of the exemptions

K is for Know……………
……who to contact. Each department has a nominated FOI Officer who can be contacted for advice. Make sure you know who it is for your own area.

L is for Learning………..
….. about the Act. Anyone within the organisation can receive a request for information and the person making the request does not have to quote the Act, so it’s important that everyone has received training

M is for Monitoring
Public authorities must have procedures in place to monitor the number of requests, how many have been refused and the reasons why

N is for Name & Address
Applicants must provide a name and address when they are requesting information

O is for Offences
Some breaches of the Freedom of Information Act are a criminal offence and carry fines up to £5,000. Take it seriously now!

P is for Publication Schemes
Each Public Authority must prepare and publish a publication Scheme telling the public the types of information they hold and how they can access it

Q is for Quoting……
People requesting information do not have to quote the Act itself, therefore all staff need to recognise information requests and pass these promptly to the appropriate person to deal with

R is for Recorded Information
The Act gives the public the right to access recorded information, irrespective of how old the information is, why it was created or if it was ‘inherited’ due to reorganisation

S is for Scottish Public Authorities
The Act applies to all public authorities in Scotland including the Police, Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive

T is for Twenty Days
You only have twenty working days to comply with a request (please note the working week is recognised as Monday – Friday, even if you normally work weekends)

U is for Understanding …..
………the Act. Leaflets and posters giving a brief description of the Act and contact details are available throughout NHS Fife

V is for Vexatious Requests
Public authorities do not have to comply with repeated requests from the same person

W is for Writing
Requests for information must be made in writing or another permanent form

X is for Expressing a Preference
People can express a preference for information to be provided in a particular form, e.g., paper copy, on floppy disk

Y is for You Too!
Remember that we all have the right to request information about a public authority under the Act

Z is for Zero tolerance …..
……… of non compliance with the Act. Part of the Information Commissioner’s duties is to ensure that all public authorities comply with the Act

Credits

Adapted from the "Freedom of Information Alphabet" by North Glasgow University Hospitals NHS Division, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

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