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Interventions activity

Interventions activity

As part of the Scottish Information Commissioner's duty to enforce freedom of information (FOI), we carry out interventions in cases where a Scottish public authority is failing to meet the requirements and standards set out in FOI law.

Interventions are not intended to penalise authorities for poor practice but to support them in improving performance, including by identifying and resolving any internal issues that are impacting on that performance. However, where an authority fails to take appropriate action, the Commissioner has the power to issue formal practice recommendations and/or enforcement notices.

Find out more about what interventions are and how we carry them out - see our Interventions Approach and Procedures.

We publish information on a quarterly basis about our interventions, and once an intervention is closed, we will strive to make learning points available for other authorities to benefit from where possible.

Our recent intervention activity

Our intervention caseload at the most recent Quarterly Interventions Meeting (QIM) on 14 June 2024 was as follows:

  • Level 1 – Two 
  • Level 2 - Three
  • Level 3 – Three 
  • Level 4 – N/A

New intervention activity throughout 2022-23  was reduced due to resource restrictions, but during 2023-24, intervention activity at levels 2 and 3 increased.  Also, we undertake non-compliance work routinely (minor issues, stats monitoring) during the course of our appeals and enquiries.       

The Commissioner contacts Scottish public authorities where sustained poor performance is identified through submitted statistics to gain a better understanding of what may have led to a drop in performance. These discussions are invaluable for assessing whether intervention activity is required and what advice and guidance may be of most benefit to the public authority to improve their FOI performance.   

Intervention activity may also be informed by enquiries and information submitted to the Commissioner regarding a specific Scottish public authority, as well as intelligence and trends identified as part of the Commissioner’s duties to investigate appeals submitted to his office. 

If you would like further information on the Commissioner’s intervention activity, please write to enquiries@itspublicknowledge.info  

Level 1 interventions

Level 1 Interventions

  • Heriot-Watt University (raised 25 October 2023) – Poor FOI response rates recorded over four quarters 
  • NHS Forth Valley (raised 09 November 2023) – Poor FOI response rates over several consecutive quarters 


Level 2 interventions

Level 2 Interventions

  • Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (raised 16 November 2023) – Intervention opened to support Council recover from cyber incident w/c 06 November 2023
  • Midlothian Council (raised 02 December 2021) – Poor FOI response rate over a prolonged period of time 
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency (raised 10 June 2021) – Work continues to support SEPA rebuild its FOI performance following the cyber incident in December 2020.