Scottish Government
Printable version E-mail this to a friend

Time and staff costs of FOI

Detailed analysis of the time and staff costs to the Scottish Government of processing Freedom of Information requests have been published recently.

The information has been gathered to provide the Government with an estimate of the amount of time it takes officials to respond to requests, reviews and appeals during a specified period, and the financial cost to the organisation.

The survey is the first of its kind conducted by the Scottish Government since 2007, but this time has been extended to count the cost of reviews and appeals.

Findings include:

  • The average staff cost of responding to a Freedom of Information request was £189 and average staff time taken was seven hours and 22 minutes
  • The average staff cost of responding to a review was £292 and the average staff time taken was eight hours and 35 minutes
  • The average staff cost of responding to an appeal was £720 and the average staff time taken was 21 hours 25 minutes

Minister for Parliamentary Business Bruce Crawford said:

"By including the cost of reviews and appeals for the first time, this survey has provided us with the most detailed analysis yet into the time and cost associated with FOI requests processed by Scottish Government staff.

"The Scottish Government is committed to the principles that underpin Freedom of Information legislation. Principles of openness and transparency are essential parts of open democratic government and responsive public services.

"The publication of today's survey helps provide a clearer picture of the real cost of FOI, and helps our understanding of the associated financial challenges while we aim to improve transparency across Scotland's public sector."

Related Information

Latest News from
Scottish Government

Get a 3 month subscription to The Economist for just £12!