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Asking the authority for a review

Asking the authority for a review

When you ask a public authority for information, you may receive one of the following:

  • All the information you asked for
  • Some of the information you asked for
  • A fees notice, if there is a charge for the information
  • A letter refusing to give you the information
  • No reply, which you should treat as a refusal

Unless you have received everything you asked for, any notice sent to you by the authority must explain the reasons for its decision, and tell you how to use its review procedure.

When should you ask for a review?

You should ask for a review no later than 40 working days after the date you receive one of the above responses from the authority. If the authority did not respond at all, you have 40 working days after the end of the 20 working day period for responding to your request.

How to ask for a review

You must request a review in writing or another form that can be kept for future use such as email, letter, fax, audio or video tape.

You should:

  • Give your name and an address (email or postal) for correspondence
  • Provide details of your original request
  • Say why you want the authority to review how it handled your request

If you have been given contact details for a review, you should write to that person. If the authority simply has not responded, or has not provided details of its review procedure, you can make your request for review to any member of the authority's staff.

When you request a review from a Scottish public authority, it must respond to you as quickly as possible and, in all cases, within 20 working days.

What happens next

You may receive one of the following:

  • All the information you asked for
  • A notice from the authority confirming that it still intends to keep the information from you, and why
  • A decision about the level of fee to be charged, if you were unhappy with a fees notice
  • A decision on your request, if the authority did not reply to your original request
  • A notice from the authority saying it doesn't think it has to review its decision, because it thinks your original request was vexatious, or the same as a request you have made before

The authority must also tell you how to appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner if you are unhappy with its response to your request for a review.

Your Right to Know (BSL) - What if I'm unhappy with a response?