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Sector-specific legislation

Certain sectors have their own statutory bases for sharing data, for example, education and local authorities. If you are a data controller from such a sector then you will need to be aware of your obligations under the relevant statutory regime, as this regime may place obligations on you which are additional to those already discussed. If you are a researcher seeking to access data from a relevant sector it is important that you are aware of this additional legal landscape.

Local Authorities

Under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, s87 a local authority may conduct or assist in the conducting of, investigations into, and the collection of information relating to any matters concerning their area and may assst in the making of an arrangement by which the results of such an investigation are made avaliable to any government department or to the public.

Essentially this provision amounts to a statutory power of local authorities to share information for research powers, however, importantly, it does not amount to an obligation to do so. This means that while local authorities may in general be more willing to share data for research purpose, the usual legal safeguards, as already discussed, will still be applicable.

 For additional guidance on data sharing in the public sector please see the Scottish Government's guidance document: Legal Guidance on Data Sharing for the Public Sector.