June and July 2011

Alistair P Sloan made this Freedom of Information request to Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal (Scotland)

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Sirs,

I request the following information in terms of Section 1(1) of the Freedom of Infromation (Scotland) Act 2002:

All information released by COPFS under FOISA and the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 during the months of June and July 2011.

I look forward to your response in this matter.

Yours sincerely,
Alistair P Sloan

FOI Enquiries, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal (Scotland)

Dear Mr Sloan

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your email which has been passed to this office on 15 August 2011.

Your request is receiving attention and we aim to provide you with a response within 20 working days of receipt.

Yours sincerely

FOI Enquiries
Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service

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Dear Sirs,

I write with reference to a request for information I made in terms of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) dated 13 August 2011. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service acknowledged the request on 15 August 2011.

Section 10(1) of FOISA states that public authorities must respond to a request for information promptly; and in any event not later than the 20 working days following the date of receipt. I calculate that in order to comply with the requirements of FOISA the COPFS should have responded no later than Friday 9 September 2011. Therefore, this request is now overdue.

I would appreciate if the COPFS could advise as to when they might be in a position to respond to this request. In terms of Section 21 of FOISA

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,
Alistair P Sloan

FOI Enquiries, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal (Scotland)

Dear Mr Sloan

Thank you for your e-mail dated 13 September in which you noted that you should have received a response to your request for information outlined below. I have made inquiry this morning and regret to say that your request for information had been confused in our records with another request which you made earlier in August for information about the offence of hamesucken.

I confirm that we will now attend to your outstanding request for information and will issue a response to you as soon as possible.
Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Yours sincerely

Mrs C McDivitt
Disclosure Section
Criminal Justice & Disclosure Team
Policy Division
Crown Office
Edinburgh

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FOI Enquiries, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal (Scotland)

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Sloan

I refer to my e-mail dated 14 September. I now attach a response to your request for information.

Yours sincerely

Mrs C McDivitt
Disclosure Section
Criminal Justice & Disclosure Team
Policy Division
Crown Office
Edinburgh

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Alistair P Sloan left an annotation ()

I am slightly confused about the exemption that has been applied here given that the information was released under the Freeom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) already. However, I now need to consider the next course of action. If this would be an appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner I will need to decide if it would be excluded under section 48 of FOISA.

Dear Mrs McDivitt

Thank you for your response to this recent freedom of information request. I do wish to raise an issue with this response. Technically there is no right to request a review as one was requested in relation to the technical failure of the COPFS to initially respond within the 20 working days. However, in light of the fact that Section 48 of FOISA excludes an appliation to the Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner in relation to this request I wondered if you might consider some further representations on the matter.

Information released by a Scottish Public Authority under the terms of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 is released to the world at large rather than to an individual person and not just the person who origionally requested it. Therefore, it follows that once information ahs been released by a public authority under FOISA or the EIRs it cannot then later be exempted if requested by someone else.

Information covered by Section 38(1) is absolutley exempt from disclosure. If Section 38(1) is currently posing a problem then the information cannot possibly have been disclosed under FOISA the first time. I wonder if you might be able to explain why the COPFS can on the one hand disclose information to one party under FOISA but then exempt the very same information under FOISA when requested by another individual. The personal interest argument advanced in your initial response has no basis in law.

I look forward to your response in this matter.

Yours sincerely,
Alistair P Sloan

Alistair P Sloan left an annotation ()

I decided that the Act specifically excluded me from applying to the Scottish Information Commissioner for a decision and confirmed this with his office. As I have technically used my request for review I am now reliant upon the goodwill of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to look again at their decision. However, they are not obliged to by law and could simply ignore the above correspondence. However, this could not be considered to be acting within the spirit of the legislation.

In addition to the above I have written to one of my MSPs (Member of the Scottish Parliament) highlighting this quite unsatisfactory position within the law suggesting a number of changes to the legislation that would rectify this position.

The First Minister of Scotland announced in his legislative programme for the current parliamentary year that they would look to amend the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 where it was sensible to do so. I hope changes to this wholly unsatisfactory situation will be included in that Bill when it is put before Parliament and if not certainly introduce as it makes its way through the Parliamentary process.

FOI Enquiries, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal (Scotland)

Dear Mr Sloan

Thank you for your e-mail. When I responded to you, I was mindful of the fact that you had not received a reply to your original e-mail and although you had requested a review, I took the view that you should still have access to the full entitlements of FOISA. Therefore, you would still have the opportunity to come back to us if you were in any way dissatisfied with the terms of my response.

I shall therefore arrange for another official, who was not involved in the original decision making process, to consider your request for the release of the information which was withheld.

Please let me know if you have any concerns with this approach.

Mrs C McDivitt
Disclosure Section
Criminal Justice & Disclosure Team
Policy Division
Crown Office
Edinburgh

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Dear Mrs McDivitt,

Thank you very much for your recent response. I am pleased to hear that you will arrange for someone to review the decision to withhold some information as part of this request.

I look forward to hearing from COPFS as to the outcome of that review.

Yours sincerely,
Alistair P Sloan

FOI Enquiries, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal (Scotland)

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Sloan

I refer to your e-mail requesting a review of the decision taken in the above request. I now attach a reply.

Yours sincerely

FOI Enquiries
Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service

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