Questionnaires & FOISA

The University often receives questionnaires and surveys from various sources, including outside organisations and students.

If an enquirer attempts to conduct a telephone questionnaire or survey, members of staff are under no obligation to participate.  However, if the questionnaire is received in a recorded format (e.g. on paper or in an email, and includes the enquirer’s full name and an email or other address for correspondence) the University is obliged to regard the questions being asked in terms of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FoISA)

The key points to remember are:

• Where the University holds the information requested in the questionnaire, it must be provided to the applicant within the statutory 20 working days from receipt.

• FOI does not require the University to answer questions which ask for an opinion, view or comment (e.g. consultation questionnaires).

• If you are uncomfortable about answering a particular question, or feel some information should not be divulged, contact the FOI Office. We can advise on any relevant FoISA exemptions.

• If the University does not hold the information requested, or it is already publically available elsewhere (e.g. on the University website), exemptions under Section 17: Information not held, or Section 25: Information otherwise accessible, could apply.  The FOI Office has a templates responses for refusing requests for information on those grounds.

• If supplying the requested information would necessitate analysing or interpreting existing information held by the University in order to create new information, this would be outwith the scope of FOI, and there is no requirement to provide this information.  If in doubt please contact the FOI Office.

• If it is anticipated that answering any individual question on the questionnaire/survey would take an excessive amount of time (i.e. more than 10 hours), contact the FOI Office. We can advise whether a fees notice should be issued to the applicant.