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FOI Helpline Service

SFHA members can now make use of a free FOI helpline, provided by TC Young solicitors.

The helpline is intended to provide quick answers to one-off, straightforward queries in respect of compliance with the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOI) or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR), ranging from dealing with information requests to publishing information. Through the helpline, TC Young provides up to 20 minutes of free legal advice via telephone on any one FOI/EIR matter.

You can access the helpline by either:

  • calling TC Young on 0141 221 5562 to be put through to a member of their FOI team; or

  • emailing your FOI query to foi@tcyoung.co.uk where a member of the TC Young team will pick up the matter as soon as possible.

The helpline is available 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday (except on public holidays or when TC Young’s Glasgow office is closed). 

When it is not immediately possible to speak to a member of TC Young’s FOI team, they will get back to any messages as soon as possible. If an inquiry is urgent, this will be prioritised.
 

How the Helpline Operates

The Helpline is available exclusively to SFHA members from 11 November 2019 until 10 November 2020 and covers legal advice relating to members’ obligations under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Advice is given by TC Young LLP, a limited liability partnership (SO302634), whose registered office is at Merchant House, 7 West George Street, Glasgow.

Advice given via the helpline is free, however your normal telephone charges may apply.

How Advice is Given:

When emailing or speaking to an advisor please:

  • State your name, position, contact details and which member organisation you are calling from
  • give a short summary of the situation, including provision of all pertinent facts and information and state your query

When speaking to an advisor, help will either be given immediately or the advisor may wish to take a note of your query in order to carry-out some brief legal research and call you back promptly with advice. Where advice is sought via email you will be given advice promptly by telephone. TC Young will aim to respond within 1 working day where reasonably practicable.

Where the query is of a complex nature or will incur time in excess of 20 minutes and cannot therefore be dealt with via the helpline, TC Young will explain your options and advise on next steps (please see “Further Advice” below).

As a guide, each member can use the helpline on up to four occasions.

Documents cannot be reviewed via the helpline, nor will advisors on the helpline draft any documents for you.

The information you provide to TC Young whilst using the helpline will be used to assist you with your FOI query. The information will be recorded internally in order to provide advice and monitor calls to the helpline.  

For further information please see TC Young’s Privacy Policy: https://www.tcyoung.co.uk/cookie-privacy-policy/

TC Young will not share details of your specific query with SFHA, but will provide regular anonymised statistics to SFHA relating to the nature and volume of queries.

Further Advice

If, following the initial 20 minutes of free legal advice, you require further assistance with the matter you are enquiring about - this may be provided by TC Young at their normal rates. TC Young will never charge you for providing subsequent advice on a matter that is initially raised via the helpline without agreeing this with you and having terms of business in place. If you agree that TC Young should provide you with further legal advice, then your organisation will be responsible for meeting the fees incurred.   

By using the helpline and receiving 20 minutes of free legal advice you are under no obligation to seek further legal advice from TC Young, and your decision to not seek further advice from TC Young will not impact on your ability to use the helpline in future.

Where members receive 20 minutes of free legal advice on one matter, and subsequently request further advice from TC Young via the helpline in respect of the same matter, TC Young is entitled to refuse to provide any further assistance. The decision as to whether or not queries from members relate to the same matter shall be made by TC Young.