Thank you for your email dated 7 August in which you requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002:
- The number of FOI requests received by the Crown Office in each of the last three years.
- The number of FOI requests where information was disclosed by the Crown Office in each of the last three years.
- The number of FOI disclosures that were published on the Crown Office disclosure log in each of the last three years.
- Details of any policy or decision about publishing disclosures.
We have taken your reference to "disclosure" of information to mean information which was not previously in the public domain and which COPFS provided in response to requests made under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA)
The number of FOI requests received in Crown Office has been recorded by financial year and the answers to your first three questions are recorded in the attached table. Crown Office began proactively publishing responses on a regular basis in January 2012.
|FOI requests received in Crown Office
|FOI requests where information was provided
|Information published on COPFS website
The general trend in our FOI statistics indicates that we provide information in response to around one third of requests, in one third the information requested is is not held or to obtain it would involve excessive cost and in the final third the information is withheld under an exemption. However, in a fair number of requests the exemption used is the one at section 25 of FOISA because the information has already been proactively published elsewhere. When we use this exemption, it is our practice to direct applicants to the appropriate previous FOI anwered by COPFS or any other appropriate site to find the information that answers their query.
With regard to your fourth question initially only the information which was provided in response to an FOI request was published. In June 2013 our Response & Information Unit was set up with a particular responsibility for handling all FOI requests, Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act and complaints. Since then, more requests have been proactively published and we have slightly changed our approach by publishing the full terms of both the request and the reply. If the request has asked a number of questions and some of the information has not been provided because it was exempt, not held, or would have exceeded the financial cost to provide, the full response is published as this makes it clear where information has not been provided in relation to certain aspects of the request.
It is not our practice to publish replies where we have provided information under the terms of FOISA to an individual who has involvement in a specific case or about other sensitive matters. It is considered inappropriate to proactively publish personal information of this type on the website in many of these situations because even if portions of an answer were redacted the identity of individuals involved could be ascertained.