Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 was passed on 30 November 2000 and came into force on 1 January 2005. It provides a general right of access to information held by a public authority and applies to all information held regardless of when it was recorded.

Key rights and obligations under the act

An individual:

  • has the right to request information from a public authority
  • has the right to be informed in writing whether the authority holds the information.

A Public Authority:

  • must maintain a publication scheme and publish information in accordance with this scheme
  • must respond to a request within 20 working days after receipt of the request which may be extended following clarification of the request if there is uncertainty or a lack of clarity about the information being requested or to consider any exemptions
  • has a duty to provide reasonable advice and assistance to anyone making a request;
  • may charge the reasonable costs for photocopies and postage for complying with a request
  • is not obliged to comply with a request if the costs involved exceed the appropriate limit in the fees regulations of £450 or 18 hours
  • may consider the application of any exemptions that apply to requests for specific types of information
  • if refusing a request must tell the applicant why and state which exemptions are being used and provide a summary of any public interest or prejudice test in the response.

If you wish to make a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 please see our Freedom of Information Requests page.      

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