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In some circumstances, it can currently take up to 5 months to conduct an initial assessment for some complaints, particularly if they are complex. We are doing everything we can to reduce this time. You can find average timescales for each stage of complaint handling across all types of complaints here.

Guide to Information

Last updated: 10 April 2024


The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) requires Scottish public authorities to produce and maintain a publication scheme. Authorities are under a legal obligation to:

  • publish the classes of information that they make routinely available 
  • tell the public how to access the information and what it might cost.

The Ethical Standards Commissioner (the Commissioner) has adopted the Model Publication Scheme produced by the Scottish Information Commissioner.

If you would like a copy of the Model Publication Scheme or this Guide in an alternative format, please contact us at or on 0131 347 3890.

The purpose of the Guide to Information is to:

  • allow the public to see what information is available (and what is not available) in relation to each class 
  • state what charges may be applies
  • explain how to find the information easily 
  • provide contact details for enquiries and to get help with accessing the information 
  • explain how to request information we hold that has not been published.

Availability and formats 

The information we publish through this scheme is, wherever possible, available on our website. We offer alternative arrangements for people who do not want to, or cannot, access the information online. For example, we can usually arrange to send information to you in paper copy (although there may be a charge for this – see Charges below). 

Exempt information 

We will publish the information we hold that falls within the classes of information below. If a document contains information that is exempt under Scotland’s freedom of information laws (for example sensitive personal information or a trade secret), we will remove or ‘black out’ the information before publication and explain why. 


Where the Commissioner holds the copyright in its published information, the information may be coped or reproduced without formal permission, provided that:

  • it is copied or reproduced accurately
  • it is not used in a misleading context, and 
  • the source of the material is identified

Where the Commissioner does not hold the copyright in information we publish, we will make this clear. 


This section explains when we may make a charge for our publications and how any charge will be calculated.

There is no charge to view information on our website or to provide you with electronic copies. 

We may charge for preparing and providing information to you, but we will charge you no more than it actually costs us to do so. We will always tell you what the cost is before providing the information to you.

Our photocopying charge per side of paper is 10 pence for A4 black and white and 20 pence for A4 colour. 

Postage costs will be recharged at the rate we paid to send the information to you. Our charge is for sending information by Royal Mail First Class. 

When providing copies of pre-printed publications, we will charge no more than the cost per copy, pro rata, of the total print run.  

We do not pass on any other costs to you in relation to our published information. 

Please note that this charging schedule does not apply to any commercial publications (see Class 8 below). These items may be offered for sale through retail outlets such as book shops, academic journal websites or museum shops and their price will reflect a ‘market value’ which may include the cost of production.

Contact us

You can contact us for assistance with any aspect of this guide: 

Ethical Standards Commissioner
Thistle House
91 Haymarket Terrace
EH12 5HE
T: 0131 347 3890

We will also advise you how to ask for information that we do not publish or how to complain if you are dissatisfied with any aspect of this guide. If you wish to make a request for information not contained in this guide, please contact us using the details above.

BSL users can contact us using the Contact Scotland BSL service.

The classes of information that we publish

We publish information that we hold within the following classes. Once information is published under a class, we will continue to make it available for at least the current and previous two financial years. 

Where information has been updated or superseded, only the current version will be available. If you would like to see previous versions, you may make a request to us for that information.

Information about our work, our strategy and policies for delivering our statutory functions and information for people who use our services. 

The information we publish under this class:

Information about the decisions we take, how we make decisions and how we involve others.

The information we publish under this class:

Information about our strategy for, and management of, financial resources (in sufficient detail to explain how we plan to spend public money and what has actually been spent).

The information we publish under this class: 

Information about how we procure goods and services, and our contracts with external providers.

The information we publish under this class:

Information packaged and made available for sale on a commercial basis and sold at market value through a retail outlet e.g. bookshop, museum or research journal.

We do not publish any information under this class. 

Open data made available by us as described by the Scottish Government's Open Data Resource Pack and available under an open licence.

We do not publish any information under this class.