Public authorities are at risk of not being able to comply with the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 if they do not know:
• What information they hold;
• Where to find it;
• How long to retain it for;
• Which records should be transferred to an archive for permanent preservation, and when;
• Which records should be destroyed, and at what point this can be done;
• When, why and on whose authority records have been destroyed;
• What individual records management responsibilities are.
For this reason a Code of Practice on Records Management and a Model Action Plan have been issued to help authorities bring their records management practices into line with this code. A records management workbook has also been made available to permit organisations or auditors to check their records management procedures against the Section 61 Code.
Codes of practice
Sections 60 and 61 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act require two codes of practice to be issued by Scottish Ministers. The Scottish Information Commissioner promotes observance of both Codes. Should an authority fail to comply with either Code, they may be failing in their duties under the FOISA. The Codes of Practice are available in the Freedom of Information section of the Scottish Government website.
Code of Practice on Discharge of Functions by Public Authorities under the Act
This is also known as the Section 60 Code. It provides best practice guidance to public authorities in connection with the discharge of their functions under the FOISA.
Code of Practice on Records Management
This is also known as the Section 61 Code. It has been designed to support the objectives of the FOISA by setting out guidance as to the practices which, in the opinion of the Scottish Ministers, public authorities should follow in relation to creating, keeping, managing and final disposition of their records.
Records Management Model Action Plan
To assist Scottish public authorities to develop records management arrangements which comply with the code, the Keeper of the Records of Scotland has produced a generic Model Action Plan. The generic Model Action Plan should be read in conjunction with the Section 61 Code. It can be used by individual organisations as a guide, and can also be used as the basis for the development of sector-specific codes tailored to the needs and business practices of particular types of public authority.
Sectoral Model Action Plans
Different sectors such as the Scottish Higher Education sector and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPOS) have used the Model Action Plan to develop their own sectoral plans, tailored to their structures and working practices.
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