Guidance for handling information

Published: 07 March 2017
Freedom of information class: How we manage our resources

Details of our guidance for handling information.

In RoS all information we handle now falls under the official classification. Some of this information will be of a sensitive nature and access must only be granted on the basis of a genuine ‘need to know’.

Particularly sensitive information may be marked with the sensitive caveat by clearly marking official-sensitive (the use of this caveat will be rare in RoS).  

If you do receive information marked secret or top secret you should immediately inform the SIA team.

DOs and DON’Ts for handling information


  • Handle, use and transmit with care.
  • Follow the RoS clear desk and screen policy
  • Take precautions against accidental compromise or opportunist attack
  • Dispose of with care or destroy to make reconstitution unlikely
  • Ensure access to sensitive material is granted on a genuine ‘need to know’ basis
  • Hand deliver hard copy containing sensitive material to RoS recipients
  • Include handling instructions with sensitive material if the recipient will be unaware of the RoS handling, protection and disposal arrangements for the type of information
  • Use a secure postal delivery service when sending sensitive material or bulk information containing over 1000 records
  • Avoid discussing sensitive material in public places


  • Leave sensitive material unattended unless secured.
  • Email sensitive material or bulk information over the Internet unless protected with encryption.
  • Append classification markings to outer envelopes, packaging or containers sent outside of RoS.
  • Destroy any official record unless it has been formally reviewed for historical interest under the provision of the Public Records (Scotland) Act.
  • Copy RoS information to third parties unless management has approved external dissemination.

Further guidance and examples on handling and marking information can be found in the information handling quick reference guide.