Awareness of FOI rights lower in certain groups

Awareness of the right to public information is high but lower in groups including young people, the elderly and people with disabilities, research shows.

Kevin Dunion, the Scottish Information Commissioner, revealed that although public awareness of freedom of information (FOI) was high, in some groups, who may have the most cause to use freedom of information rights, it was lower.

Figures revealed that 74% of those surveyed said that they were aware of the law which entitles people to request information from all Scottish public authorities.However, only 50% of 18 to 24-year-olds and 54% of over-65s stated they were definitely aware of the Act, compared with 62% of 24 to 44-year-olds and 71% of 45 to 64-year-olds.

Mr Dunion said: "The findings are heartening and suggest that awareness of the right
to information is becoming embedded in the public consciousness. However I am concerned that awareness may be lower within those groups who may well have most cause to use freedom of information rights such as young people, the elderly and those with disabilities. Scotland's FOI rights are available to all, and it is important that every sector of society - and particularly the most vulnerable - can exercise them."

Some lack information awareness (Midlothian Advertiser, 19 November 2007)

Poll shows freedom act awareness (BBC news, 19 November 2007)