Freedom of information

You have the right to ask us for information we hold. How, when and if we can provide this, depends on the type of information you’ve requested. Different laws apply.

There’s more information about how we’ll handle your request in the following sections.

How we handle freedom of information requests

Our Guide to Information describes the information we regularly publish and where you can find it.

How to make a request Toggle accordion

Your request must:

  • be in writing or in a format that we can refer to again (we can give you help with this)
  • include your name and give a postal or email address
  • describe the information requested.

Whether or not we provide the information is covered by ‘freedom of information’ laws. We’ll apply your legal rights even if you don’t mention it’s a ‘freedom of information’ request when contacting us.

How we’ll respond to your request Toggle accordion

When we receive your request, we may be able to provide the information within two or three days. If not, we’ll write to you explaining that we’ll respond within 20 working days. 

Depending on the work involved, we may charge a fee. If that is the case, we’ll contact you, before proceeding, with further details and advice.

Your request may be simple and straight-forward and we’ll be able to provide the information to you quickly and in full. Where your request is more complex and may require some time to respond, we’ll treat this as a formal ‘freedom of information’ request. In this case, we’ll record the details in a register. This will include: 

  • your name
  • the date your request was received 
  • the date our response is due 
  • the date our response was issued.

If we need more information about your request, we’ll contact you. 

We’ll provide our response in an agreed format within 20 working days of confirming your request.

Will we provide all the information requested? Toggle accordion

We may not be able to provide all of the information you have asked for. If this happens, we will always explain why. This might be because:

  • the information is already available on our website. We’ll explain where the information is located. 
  • we don’t hold the information. If we know who might have it we’ll provide you with contact details. 
  • the information requested is extensive and may be too expensive to pull together. We’ll explain the details and try to find alternative ways to provide the information you’ve asked for. 
  • the information is exempt. Some information either cannot or should not be released. These exemptions are governed by freedom of information laws. If we withhold any information, we’ll explain what exemption we’re using and why. 

We are very unlikely to release the personal information of third parties, without their permission. 

You can ask to see the personal data that we hold about you. Have a look at the data protection section.

What if I’m unhappy with your response Toggle accordion

If you are unhappy with the how we have handled your request, you can ask us to review our decision and actions. You must do this within 40 working days of our response, stating the reasons why you’re unhappy. We will respond within 20 working days.

If you remain unhappy, you can complain to the Scottish Information Commissioner.

How we handle environmental information requests

We handle requests for environmental information under ‘Environmental Information Regulations’ rather than freedom of information laws. The rules are slightly different:

  • Requests for environmental information can be made verbally.
  • Environmental information can be withheld in certain circumstances. These reasons are similar, but not exactly the same as those for freedom of information requests. If we do withhold any information, we’ll explain why.
  • Though the deadline for response is normally 20 days, we can extend this up to 40 working days if a request is complex or involves large amounts of information.

How we handle requests for personal information

You can ask us for any information we hold about you. Our privacy policy describes what information we might hold and why.

What can I ask for? Toggle accordion

You can:

  • find out what personal data we hold about you
  • access that data. If we do hold information about you, we will provide it if we are able to.
  • object to us processing personal data about you
  • ask us to correct inaccurate or incomplete personal data about you
  • request that we delete or destroy personal data about you
  • ask us to restrict how we process your personal data.

How to make a request Toggle accordion

You can make your request by phone or post or email inforequests@ethicalstandards.org.uk.

How we’ll respond to your request Toggle accordion

When we receive your request, we may be able to provide the information within two or three days. If not, we’ll write to you explaining that we’ll respond within one month. 

We’ll record the details of your request in a register. This will include:

  • your name
  • the date your request was received 
  • the date our response is due 
  • the date our response was issued. 

If we need more information about your request, we’ll contact you. We may need to confirm your identity. 

Depending on the work involved, we may charge a fee. If that is the case, we’ll contact you, before proceeding, with further details and advice.

We’ll provide our response in an agreed format within one month of receiving your request.

Will we provide all the information requested? Toggle accordion

We may not be able to provide all of the information you have asked for. If this happens, we will always explain why. This might be because:

  • we’ve already provided the information. 
  • we don’t hold the information. If we know who might have it we’ll provide you with contact details. 
  • the information requested is extensive. We’ll explain the details and try to find alternative ways to provide the information you’ve asked for. 
  • the information is exempt. Some information either cannot or should not be released. These exemptions are governed by data protection laws. 
  • We are very unlikely to release the personal information of third parties, without their permission. 

What if I’m unhappy with your response Toggle accordion

If you are unhappy with the how we have handled your request, you can ask us to review our decision and actions. 

If you remain unhappy, you can complain to the Information Commissioner.

Requests for information

You can make a request for information by emailing inforequests@ethicalstandards.org.uk. You can also contact us in other ways.

Let us know what information you need, and we’ll either provide it or explain why we can’t.