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How long will I have to wait?

How long will I have to wait?

You should get a response within 20 working days. When you request information from a Scottish public authority, it must give it to you (or tell you why it's allowed to withhold it) as quickly as possible - and within 20 working days at the most.

Working days means Monday to Friday - weekends do not count, and neither do bank holidays. If you have sent your request by post, you should allow three days for your letter to reach the authority, and three days for the authority's response to reach you.

The first working day of your request is the day after the date on which the authority receives it. You can use our response calculator to give you an indication of when you should expect a response.

Animated guide - How long will I wait?

Requests for clarification

If the public authority has to ask you for more details to help it identify exactly what information you are asking for, the 20 working days will only start once you have given those details.

However, if you believe your request was already clear enough you can ask the authority to review this.

If a fee is required

In certain circumstances, public authorities can charge a fee for FOI requests (although this happens rarely).

If the public authority contacts you to tell you that you have to pay a fee, the 20 working day clock will be 'paused'. Once you pay the fee, the clock will start again.

For example, if the authority sends you a fees notice after 10 working days, and you decide to pay the fee, the authority has another 10 working days from the day it receives your payment to respond.

If a fee is charged, you don't have to pay, but you won't receive the information if you don't.

If you're unhappy with the fee that the authority is asking for, you can ask the authority to review this.

Information transferred to the Keeper of the Records Scotland

If you ask the Scottish Government for information that's no longer in regular use, it may have been transferred to the Keeper of the Records of Scotland. If this is the case, you may have to wait up to 30 working days, not 20, for a reply. For most information requests though, the 20 working day limit will apply.

Your Right to Know (BSL) - How long will I have to wait?