Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI)
gives people a general right of access to information held by
The Act was introduced to help bring about a
culture of openness within the public sector. Information held by
public authorities should be available and accessible to
It gives the public access to most structured
information held by the council. This means reports, documents,
emails, maps, and audio visual recordings, unless the council is
entitled to apply for a legal exemption.
This should give the public a better
understanding of how public authorities carry out their duties, why
they make the decisions they do and how they spend public money. It
gives the public access to most structured information held by the
council. This means reports, documents, emails, maps, and audio
visual recordings, unless the council is entitled to apply for a
The Information Commissioner is the
independent authority responsible for ensuring compliance with the
Public authorities have two main duties under
- Each public authority must adopt and maintain
a publication scheme setting out:
- details of information it will routinely make available
- how the information can be obtained
- whether there is any charge for it.
See our publication scheme for more
information on this.
- From January 1, 2005, every public
authority must comply with requests for the information that it
holds unless there is an exemption from disclosure. Public
authorities normally have a maximum of 20 working days to respond
to the request; however there are circumstances when this time
limit can be extended.
For more information read the FOI faqs or visit the Information
Commissioners Office website.