About the Freedom of Information Act
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
- has the right to request information from the 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 or following clairifcation of the request if there is uncertainty or a lack of clarity about the information being requested.
- has a duty to provide reasonable advice and assistance to anyone making a request;
- may charge a fee 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;
- must 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 exemption is being used.