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Model Publication Scheme

Model Publication Scheme 2018


1. The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (the Act) requires Scottish public authorities to adopt and maintain a publication scheme. Authorities are under a legal obligation to:

(i) publish the classes of information that they make routinely available

(ii) tell the public how to access the information they publish and whether information is available free of charge or on payment.

2. FOISA also allows for the development of model publication schemes which can be adopted by more than one authority. The Commissioner's Model Publication Scheme (the MPS) was approved on 01 November 2018.

3. The Commissioner has issued a Guide to accompany this model scheme This is essential reading for authorities adopting the model scheme: it explains the requirements of the scheme in detail and provides lists of types of information the Commissioner expects authorities will publish. 

Adopting this model scheme

4. It is expected that the MPS will be adopted by any authority which is subject to FOISA. For more information about which bodies this applies to, please visit

5.  Adoption commits an authority to:

(i) using the MPS as its publication scheme, and accepting any updates to the MPS, without amendment       

(ii) publishing the information, including environmental information, it holds which falls within the classes of information (see below)

(iii) ensuring that the way it publishes its information meets the MPS Principles (see below)

(iv) producing a Guide to Information which sets out:

(a) the information the authority publishes through the MPS;

(b) how to access it;

(c) whether there is a charge for it; and

(d) how to get help to access information

(v) notifying the Scottish Information Commissioner that it has adopted the MPS.

6. Where an authority fails to meet the above commitments, it cannot be considered to have adopted the Commissioner's MPS and may be failing in its duty to adopt and maintain a publication scheme in line with section 23(1) of FOISA.

Model Publication Scheme 2018 principles

Principle One: Availability and formats

7.  Information published through this model scheme should, wherever possible, be made available on the authority's website.

8. There must be an alternative arrangement for people who do not wish to, or who cannot, access the information either online or by inspection at the authority's premises. An authority may, for example, arrange to send out information in paper copy on request (although there may be a charge for doing so).

Principle Two: Exempt information

9. If information described by the classes of information (see below) cannot be published and is exempt under Scotland's freedom of information laws e.g., sensitive personal data or a trade secret, the authority may withhold the information or provide a redacted version for publication, but it must explain why it has done so.

Principle Three: Copyright and re-use

10. The authority's Guide to Information must include a copyright statement which is consistent with the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 . Where the authority does not hold the copyright in information it publishes, this should be made clear.

11. . Any conditions applied to the re-use of published information must be consistent with the ReUse of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015.

12. The Commissioner recommends that authorities adopt the Open Government Licence and/or the non-commercial Government Licence, produced by The National Archives for their published information.

Principle Four: Charges

13. The Guide to Information must contain a charging schedule, explaining any charges and how they will be calculated.

14. No charge may be made to view information on the authority's website or at its premises, except where there is a fee set by other legislation, for example, for access to some registers.

15. The authority may charge for computer discs, photocopying, postage and packing and other costs associated with supplying information. The charge must be no more than these elements actually cost the authority e.g. cost per photocopy or postage. There may be no further charges for information in Classes 1 - 7 below. An exception is made for commercial publications (see Class 8 below) where pricing may be based on market value.

Principle Five: Contact details

16. The authority must provide contact details for enquiries about any aspect of the adoption of the model scheme, the authority's Guide to Information and to ask for copies of the authority's published information.

17. The Act requires authorities to provide reasonable advice and assistance to anyone who wants to request information. This includes information which is not published through the MPS . The authority's Guide to Information must provide contact details to access this help.

Principle Six: Duration

18. Once published through the Guide to Information, the information should be available for the current and previous two financial years. Where information has been updated or superseded, only the current version need be available (previous versions may be requested from the authority under section 1(1) of FOISA).

19. The Guide to Information should contain a 'last reviewed' date showing when the document was last reviewed, to ensure it contains the most up to date information.

The Classes of Information

Information Classes A table showing Classes of Information





About the authority


Information about the authority, who we are, where to find us, how to contact us, how we are managed and our external relations



How we deliver our functions and services


Information about our work, our strategies and policies for delivering functions and services and information for our service users



How we take decisions and what we have decided


Information about the decisions we take, how we make decisions and how we involve others



What we spend and how we spend it


Information about our strategy for, and management of, financial resources (in sufficient detail to explain how we plan to spend public money and what has actually been spent)




How we manage our human, physical and information resources



Information about how we manage our human, physical and information resources.




How we procure goods and services from external providers



Information about how we procure goods and services and our contracts with external providers



How we are performing


Information about how we perform as an organisation and how well we deliver our functions and services



Our commercial publications


Information packaged and made available for sale on a commercial basis and sold at market value through a retail outlet e.g., bookshop, museum or research journal.

9Our open dataThe open data we make available as described by the Scottish Government's Open Data Strategy and Resource Pack, available under an open licence.


Document Control Sheet

Table listing the Document Control Sheet Document Control Sheet

Document Information


Full name of current version:  Class, Title, Version No and status.  E.g. C5 Key Documents Handbook v01 CURRENT ISSUE

C2 Model Publication Scheme v03 CURRENT ISSUE

VC File ID






Responsible ManagerHOPI
Date of next planned review01/11/2019

Approval & Publication


Approval Date (major version)


For publication (Y/N)


Date Published22/11/2018
Name of document in website file libraryModelPublicationsScheme

Corrections / Unplanned or Ad hoc reviews (see Summary of changes below for details) 


Date of last update



Summary of Changes to Document Table showing Summary of Changes to document

Summary of changes to document



Action by

Version updated

New version number

Brief description



(e.g. v01.25-36)

(e.g. v01.27, or 02.03)

(e.g. updated paras 1-8, updated HOPI to HOOM, reviewed whole section on PI test, whole document updated, corrected typos, reformatted to new branding)





New document created following approval of draft





DCS update, published on website







Scottish Information Commissioner
Kinburn Castle
Doubledykes Road
St Andrews, Fife
KY16 9DS

t  01334 464610
f  01334 464611­


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