Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 provides important new rights of access to information held by Scottish public authorities, including Heriot-Watt University.

The Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs) also came into force on 1 January 2005. These regulations enact a European Union Directive to provide access to environmental information which is held by Scottish Public Authorities.

What is Freedom of Information?

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act, 2002 came into force on 1 January 2005. The Act gives a general statutory right of access to all types of recorded information, in all formats and of any age, held by Scottish public authorities. All Scottish higher education institutions are defined as public authorities under the Act. The Act also applies to companies that we own, either wholly or in partnership with other public authorities. You can find out more about FOI on the Scottish Information Commissioner's website, It's Public Knowledge.

Under the Act we must adopt and maintain publication schemes, which set out the classes of information that we commit to publish routinely and explains how you can access this information.

How to request information

If you request information from us we must provide it, or a valid reason for not doing so, within 20 working days. You do not have to refer to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act when making a request for information.

If you would like advice and help to identify the information you want or other help in making a request, you can:

  • write to us via
  • contact the person named in the relevant class of information in the publication scheme
  • contact the University's FOI and Data Protection Officer


Some information is exempt from disclosure, for instance if its release would seriously prejudice the commercial interests of any person or organisation or breach the Data Protection Act, 1998.


To make a complaint about the publication scheme or the University's response to a request for information, please contact the FOI and Data Protection Officer.

Key information