CALLS have been made to anonymise Freedom of Information (FOI) requests sent to government advisers amid fears they have been "unduly interfering" in certain cases.

This week, The Herald revealed that scores of requests are regularly being sent to special advisers (Spads) and ministers for approval, with critics saying this was failing to act in the "spirit" of FOI laws.

It follows a a number recent controversies around the government's approach and handling of FOI requests and the influence of political figures, including claims that those coming from journalists were being treated different from other requests.

Last year journalists from across the Scottish media signed an open letter criticising the government's approach, with MSPs subsequently condemning its conduct in a unanimous vote in parliament.

Now Labour MSP Neil Findlay has lodged a motion at Parliament calling on the head of the devolved civil service to step in and ensure all cases passed on to a Spad or minister remain anonymous.

He said: "SNP Ministers and their taxpayer funded spin doctors are interfering in information requests on an industrial scale.

"Some of the country’s leading journalists have already expressed their fears that their requests are being handled differently from others.

"This week’s revelation showed they have every right to be fearful.

"This is clearly an unacceptable situation and the Scottish Government must act to ensure the names of those asking for information are withheld from SPADs and politicians."

On Wednesday, investigative journalist James McEnaney revealed that in a snapshot of requests over a two-week period in March, out of 141 requests for information, 57 of them were referred to politically appointed advisers and 39 were sent for "ministerial approval".

Lord Wallace, ex-MP and former Deputy First Minister, who is is one of the legal minds behind Scotland's transparency laws said that while the involvement of special advisers wasn't above "the letter of the law, it certainly flies in the face of the intended spirit of the legislation".

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: "The legal duty to comply with FOI legislation lies with Scottish Ministers, who are accountable for all FOI responses issued by the Scottish Government.

"As such, it is entirely appropriate that Ministers are sighted on, and content with, proposed information releases or exemptions, applied in line with the FOI Act – particularly in sensitive and high profile areas, and regardless of who requests the information.

"When preparing FOI responses, officials will always consider carefully, and on a case-by-case basis, whether input or clearance is required from relevant parts of the organisation, including other officials, special advisers and ministers, as is set out clearly in our the publicly available guidance.

"We are co-operating fully with the Scottish Information Commissioner who is considering our processes and practices and we await publication of his report."