The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) gives the general right of access to all recorded information that is held by the University. FOISA is intended to promote openness and accountability within all Scottish public authorities - including universities. However, some information may be exempt from disclosure by the University if one of the Act's exemptions applies. Many of these exemptions are not absolute and are subject to a public interest test and a harm test.
The University is committed to a policy of meeting its obligations under FOISA and to allowing access to University information unless a specific and valid exemption applies. Only the information to which an exemption applies can be withheld. That is, if a particular document is requested which contains some exempt information, only those specific pieces of exempt information can be withheld. The rest of the document must be released.
The potential use of any of exemptions, except for section 25 - Information otherwise accessible, must be passed the the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Office via your local FoISA - Coordinators. The DP & FOI Office will assess the case for or against the use of any exemption. Common exemptions, and their associated section of FOISA, include:
|section 25||Information otherwise available|
|section 26||Prohibitions on disclosure|
|section 27||Information intended for future publication|
|section 28||Relations within the United Kingdom|
|section 29||Formulation of Scottish Administration policy|
|section 30||Prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs|
|section 31||National security and defence|
|section 32||International relations|
|section 33||Commercial interests and the economy|
|section 34||Investigations by Scottish Public Authorities and proceedings arising out of such investigations|
|section 35||Law enforcement|
|section 37||Court records|
|section 38||Personal information|
|section 39||Health, safety and the environment|
|section 40||Audit functions|
|section 41||Communications with Her Majesty etc and honours|
The Scottish Information Commissioner's website provides a range of comprehensive guidance on the exemptions, plus the results of decisions over both the use of the exemptions and the handling of information requests.