The Council annually receives in excess of 3,000 requests for information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 and the INSPIRE (Scotland) Regulations 2009.
In an effort to try to reduce the number of requests received and the time taken to process and respond to these a pilot study is being carried out as part of a project to evaluate the effect of open data on FOI requests. As part of this project several new data sets have been made available on the Edinburgh Open Data Portal.
These relate to:
- Fixed Penalty notices issued by Environmental Wardens (number and monetary value)
- Cremation Data (number and cost), and
- Self directed support options (options and choices)
It is intended that the pilot project be run for a period of 6 months from May to October 2016.
At the end of the pilot period the number of requests received relating to these subject areas will be counted and the time taken to respond to the requests will be measured. Data will also be collated as to whether the information available in the data sets was sufficient to answer the requests fully.
It is hoped that outcomes from this pilot project may be that the number of requests to the Council diminishes and the time taken to respond to the requests would be less.
It is also hoped that nature of requests may change in that:
- some requests become easier to deal with as a consequence of data being readily available,
- individuals may narrow down the scope of any request because of the data which is readily available,
The outcome of the pilot project may also assist in making it possible to identify the subject matter of future requests and actively publish data which would address these.