Getting to Grips with the Freedom of Information Act

28 September 2023

If you’re not used to dealing with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), it can feel daunting to receive a request.

Under FOIA, anyone has the right to request any recorded information held by public authorities or by businesses that carry out public functions.

Any member of staff could receive this request, and whether you have a specialist team in place to pick it up or you have to respond yourself, it’s important to know what to do.

To help you, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which regulates FOIA in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has created a simple ‘FOI in 90 seconds’ guide that explains what you need to do if you are asked for information.

Alongside the guide are two Basic response templates that set out what a good response looks like and what information it should include.

If your organisation is looking to devise or improve its processes for handling of FOI, the newly published Information Access Manual, which sets out the ICO’s processes for dealing with FOI requests, may also be a helpful tool.

These new materials have been launched today, Thursday 28 September, to mark International Day for Universal Access to Information.

All of the resources, along with more detailed guidance, resources and toolkits, are available on the ICO’s website. And don’t forget, if you have a question, you can contact the ICO on 0303 123 1113.

For regular updates on what’s new in data protection and Freedom of Information, you can also sign up to the ICO’s e-newsletter.

Source: Information Commissioner’s Office

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