FOI requests first for north-east council

A LOCAL authority in the north-east of Scotland is believed to have become the first local authority in Scotland to publicise details of who is making Freedom of Information requests from it – with an estimated 40 per cent coming from the media.

The Moray Council has placed all its FOI requests on its website, along with the responses provided.

While the private details of those making a request are not being shown, general identification – such as ‘media’ – is being revealed.

Says the council: “Placing the requests on the web is part of the authority’’s drive to be more open and transparent, and to illustrate to the taxpaying public how we are performing in this area.”

The council says it currently responds to 97 per cent of all requests within the 20-day time limit set down by FOI legislation.

The council receives some 500 requests a year, with eachone involving a minimum of £50 worth of staff time.

Under the FOI (Scotland) Act, the council can charge ten per cent of the cost once the bill goes past £100.

Once the cost reaches £600 or more in staff time and resources the council does not have to provide the information.