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Requesting information through the freedom of information act

Who can request information?

Anyone can request information regardless of age, nationality or location.

How to request information

The request must be in writing and include:

  • The name of the person asking for the information    
  • An address for correspondence to be sent 
  • A clear description of the information wanted
  • Any preference for the way in which the information is provided to you

You can request information online:

Start your FOI request

Response times

We have to respond to your request within 20 working days. If the request will take longer than this, we will write to you with an estimate of how much longer it will take us. If we do not understand your request we will contact you to clarify what it is that you are seeking. Our response will confirm whether or not we hold the information and either provide it or explain why it has not been provided (stating the relevant exemption) and referring to your right of complaint or appeal. If the request is for information held by another public body, we will advise you where possible on how you should proceed with your request.

Repeat requests

The act does not specifically limit the number of requests you can make, however. Section 14 of the act states that a public authority can reserve the right to refuse any vexatious (insufficient ground) or repeated requests. This may include repeated requests from the same person for the same information, or requests which are intended to disrupt that authority’s work.

Using the information you receive

The Freedom of Information Act does not place restrictions on how the information supplied may be used, however, the act does provide for exemptions for commercially sensitive information, information intended for future publication or information related to investigations, law enforcement and court records. The act does not transfer copyright in any information supplied under it.

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