Search

FAQ

PUBLISHED: 10:22 26 January 2005 | UPDATED: 10:25 07 September 2010

- What is the Freedom of Information Act? The Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) was passed in 2000 with the stated aim of increasing transparency in Government. It allows public access to past and current Government documents on any subject, with certain

- What is the Freedom of Information Act?

The Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) was passed in 2000 with the stated aim of increasing transparency in Government. It allows public access to past and current Government documents on any subject, with certain exceptions, such as national security.

- Whose information does it apply to?

The Act does not only apply to central Government. It lifts the veil from local authorities and the contractors which work for them. You can now ask councils, council employees and PFI firms for paperwork on how much they are being paid, how much they are spending, and what processes they went through to reach budget decisions.

- Which organisations exactly?

Here's a short list of local organisations you might want to consider asking for information.

- How do I go about asking for the information?

Requests must be sent in writing. A phone call isn't enough, but an e-mail should be.

- How long will it take until I get it?

Authorities are required to return the information you ask for as soon as possible, and certainly within a minimum of 20 days.

- Can my request for information be turned down?

Requests can be automatically turned down if they relate to the Security Service, the Secret Intelligence Service, the Government Communications Headquarters, the special forces, or the National Criminal Intelligence Service. They can also be rejected on the grounds that they might threaten British interests abroad. You can appeal against a refusal if you feel your request is in the public interest.

- Who decides whether it's in the public interest?

The new information commissioner.

- This is all for free, right?

Mostly. If your request will cost less than £450 to process - including staff time spent digging out the paperwork you asked for - then the authority will do it for free. But if getting the information will cost more, they can ask you to pay.

- Has anyone put in a successful request under the Act yet?

Here's one: a local newspaper editor in the East Anglian fens sent some testing questions to his local council with mixed results.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

22 minutes ago

Campaigners against the 100 Avenue Road development suffered a major blow last night as Camden voted through a controversial plan that will funnel lorries through residential streets in Swiss Cottage.

Yesterday, 17:35

The families left homeless by the fire that destroyed the upper floors of Willow House in East Finchley last week said Barnet Council treated them “like ants to be squashed” in the immediate aftermath of the fire.

Yesterday, 12:44

The Temple Fortune community was celebrating on Tuesday after Barnet’s Finchley and Golders Green planning committee unanimously rejected plans to build housing on the old Templars Tennis Club.

Yesterday, 12:10

Tens of thousands of pounds, weapons and drugs were seized after searching a garage in the Peckwater Estate on Tuesday morning.

Yesterday, 11:55

Passengers on the Barking to Gospel Oak line have become used to delays and disruption in recent times.

Wed, 17:58

A man has been convicted over the “senseless” stabbing of a Dutch man in Camden Lock in 2016.

Wed, 17:04

Camden Council will correct a sign that says a park will be closed every day at dusk, despite it having no way to shut it.

Wed, 13:01

A Cumbrian couple have been left scared for their property after receiving a bailiff’s letter demanding council tax for a Maida Vale property they have no connection to.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now