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Freedom Of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

About The Act And The Council's Responsibilities

The Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) 2002 (FOI) enables any person to obtain information from Scottish public authorities. The Act applies to all Scottish public authorities including: Scottish Executive and its agencies; Scottish Parliament; Local Authorities; NHS Scotland; Universities and further education colleges; and the Police.

Public authorities have to allow access to the following information:

  •  the provision, cost and standard of its service
  •  factual information or decision-making, and
  •  the reasons for decisions made by it.

This legal right of access includes all types of ‘recorded’ information of any date held by Scottish public authorities. From 1st January 2005 any person who makes a request for information must be provided with it, subject to certain conditions.

The Act also places an obligation on all Scottish public authorities to adopt and maintain a 'Publication Scheme' and the Council has submitted its own Publication Scheme to the Scottish Information Commissioner describing the classes of information which the Council publishes or intends to publish, how it does so, and any fees associated with these publications. The Scheme was approved by the Commissioner and the Council is obliged to publish information in accordance with the scheme.

The Comhairle is already committed to principles of openness and transparency in its decision making and service delivery functions, and has sought to meet its obligations under the 2002 Act by including as much information as possible within this Publication Scheme.

The Comhairle’s Publication Scheme will be accessible in hard copy in public libraries through out the Western Isles, and at Council Offices in Sandwick Road, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis; Tarbert, Isle of Harris; Balivanich, Isle of Benbecula; and Castlebay, Isle of Harris.

It is important to know that the Council already places a large amount of information in public buildings such as libraries. In addition, a considerable amount of information about the Council’s services and activities (including our Publication Scheme) is published on the Council website.  When seeking information about the Council, please make full use of this website to find out whether the information you’re looking for is already available on-line - use the search or 'A-Z' facilities available at the top of each page.

Please remember that, if the information you require has already been made available to the public in other ways, the Council would normally refer you back to that source.