People unhappy with the outcome of a freedom of information request have the option of a new online appeal service, launched today by the Scottish Information Commissioner.

Requesters will be able to use the service to appeal if their requests are refused or they are unhappy with the way their requests were handled by public authorities. Available 24/7, it gives users real-time help and advice to assist the speedy processing of their case.

The Commissioner's office hopes the service will be of particular help to those in the voluntary sector. While the number of appeals to the Commissioner increased by 14% in 2015-16, appeals from this sector accounted for just 1% of total appeals – three actual appeals – down from 19 (4%) the previous year.  

Scottish Information Commissioner Rosemary Agnew commented: “Our new webpage explains FOI rights and how to use them, and we’ll be giving FOI training workshops for voluntary sector staff in different parts of the country.

“We want freedom of information to work as well as possible for the voluntary sector, giving access the information you need to support your work.”

The service can be accessed at Appeals can also be accepted by post or email, but the Commissioner recommends that appeals be made online.