Make a freedom of information (FOI) request
To make a freedom of information request, you must do it in writing in one of three ways:
Is the information I want already published?
Before making your request, please note that a lot of information is already available on our website or published under our publication scheme, so please check these two outlets before making your request.
How long will it take you to respond?
Requests should be responded to within 20 working days, commencing the next working day after receipt.
Can you choose not to respond to my FOI request?
If we believe a request is vexatious or repetitive, we have the option to not respond. Find out more.
Is any information exempt?
Sometimes information will not be released under the act because it is classed as exempt. For example, information cannot be released if it is judged to be against the public interest. The main types of exemption are:
Qualified exemption: The public interest in withholding the information is greater than the public interest in releasing it.
Absolute exemption:Information that falls into this category can be withheld without even considering public interest arguments. For example, certain defence and national security matters fall inside this category.
There are other, more specific, types of information that can be withheld. These are laid out in the act and they include:
- Information that is already available to the public.
- Information intended for future publication.
- Information supplied by or about the security or intelligence services.
- Information supplied by or about the special forces.
- Information about civil or criminal investigations, including police investigations.
- Court or tribunal proceedings and documents.
- Information that may prejudice the work of the organisation in auditing the accounts and efficiency of another public body.
- Communications with the Queen and other members of the Royal Family.
- Information about the formulation of government policy, how a minister's private office works, ministerial communications and any advice received by a minister. This applies to central government.
- Information that would endanger the safety or the physical or mental health of another.
- Trade secrets and information that might affect the commercial. interests of an organisation or another person.
- Confidential legal proceedings.