Freedom of Information (FoI)
The Freedom of Information Act deals with access to official information and gives individuals or organisations the right to request information from any public authority.
Your right to know
Public authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland generally have 20 working days in which to provide you with the information you request, as long as the information isn´t exempt, for example, if its release were to prejudice national security or damage commercial interests.
The Freedom of Information Act only applies to public authorities and companies that are wholly owned by public authorities. When they respond to requests, they have to follow a number of set procedures.
The Information Commissioner´s Office (ICO) publishes detailed guidance notes that provide organisations and individuals with all the information they need to know about the Freedom of Information Act.
A Decision Notice outlines the ICO´s final assessment, following a complaint, as to whether or not a public authority has complied with the Act. These are catalogued and available online.
An Enforcement Notice is a legal order the Information Commissioner can make to require a public authority to address its failure to comply with the Freedom of Information Act.
A Publication Scheme is a commitment by a public authority to make certain information available, and a guide to how that information can be obtained.
The Commission´s current Publication Scheme is under review and will be available shortly
For more information about the Freedom of Information Act, please refer to the Information Commissioner´s Office.