Published on Jul 12, 2012
Everyone has a legal right to see information from Scottish public authorities. You don't have to say who you are or why you want the information. And if the public authority refuses to give it to you, they must tell you why, and the Information Commissioner can overrule them.
But how does Freedom of Information legislation work? How can you craft a request for information so it's most likely to be answered?
What can you do if your request is turned down? How can you make FOI work best for you, your clients or the people you serve?
Rob Edwards, a freelance journalist specialising in environmental issues for more than 25 years. His work has appeared in New Statesman, The Observer, The Mail, The Sunday Times, Scotland on Sunday, The Scotsman, The Glasgow Herald, the Edinburgh Evening News and others. Since 1999 he has been the environment editor of the Sunday Herald and a correspondent for New Scientist and The Guardian.
Gavin Sheridan, a data journalist and right to information advocate from Ireland. He is Innovation Director at social news agency Storyful, based in Dublin. He also is co-founder of thestory.ie, a website dedicated to the systematic procuring and publishing of Irish government documents and data. He has trained journalists from several eastern European countries on access to information strategies and data journalism techniques. He helped found KildareStreet.com, the Irish parliamentary informatics website, built using MySociety software.'
Sarah Hutchinson, who is Head of Policy and Information at the Scottish Information Commissioner. She heads up the Policy and Information Team, which is responsible for developing the organisation's external communications on all freedom of information issues, for press and media relations, managing the enquiries service and publication schemes approval process. Sarah also advises the Commissioner on a variety of policy related issues, whilst liaising with senior officials in public bodies and their policy and legal advisers.
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