Five Years of Freedom of Information in Scotland

The Real Challenge

The Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner (OSIC) turned to Real PR and our design partners, Dynam, for a one off campaign to mark five years of the Freedom of Information Act (2002) Scotland and to launch the Commissioner’s 2010 annual report.

Real Solutions

A three month campaign was managed to raise awareness of FOISA, its five years of success and the publishing of the annual report.

The campaign was trailed in an in-depth interview in a Sunday broadsheet and launched with the release of research showing that voluntary groups were deterred from making FOI requests for fear of damaging their relationship with public bodies. An eye catching photo opportunity was combined with the release of online video on the previous five years of FOI in Scotland. Real pre-sold the story to the main targets with regionalised case studies allowing titles to prepare stories in advance of the Christmas down period.

Real PR also took OSIC through a one day introduction to social media, helping them to understand how to optimise the use of social media in line with their objectives.

Video for the campaign was created by Kevin Cameron - a BAFTA nominated video production specialist.

In the next stage of the campaign OSIC wanted to brief senior members of the media on a potential political threat to FOI in Scotland. Real PR organised two high level dinners, in Edinburgh and Glasgow, with editors and political journalists from all major media outlets n Scotland

Real’s design partners Dynam, created a campaign around the theme of “You Only Have to Ask Motive” which was used across the print, website and visuals for the annual report. Real PR also released regionalised data and a national news release to coincide with the report’s launch. Prior to the report going live, Real PR placed an opinion piece in the Sunday Herald with Lord Wallace of Tankerness who was deeply involved defining the act and getting it onto the legislature.

Real Activity

  • Over 65 articles were achieved reaching right across Scotland generating 8,000,000 opportunities to see. That is two for every adult of voting age in Scotland.
  • Broadcast coverage of the launch included BBC’s Reporting Scotland and Newsnight Scotland.
  • Online video was used by and as well as through OSIC own channels.
  • Coverage was maintained throughout the 12 week campaign with at least one article appearing in press per week
  • In order to reach the law community a round table feature was set up with The Journal for the law society of Scotland. As well as an in-depth feature the event secured the front page of the February issue.
  • Journalists were reached through an article by Freelance Environmental Editor and FOI supporter Rob Edwards on allmediascotland. The Business press were targeted through an opinion piece in business 7. 

Real Results

The campaign raised the profile of Freedom of Information in Scotland. It reached all main stakeholders and navigated difficult political circumstances. The real test comes later in the year with OSIC’s annual research into public understanding of FOI (which we will update here when we know the results).

Over 1000 people have already viewed the microsite for the annual report. In addition OSIC has started to implement and integrate social media into their marketing and PR activities.