Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 creates a right of access to recorded information and obliges a public authority to: 

  • Have a publication scheme in place.
  • Allow public access to information held by public authorities.

The act covers any recorded organisational information such as reports, policies or strategies, that is held by a public authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and by UK-wide public authorities based in Scotland, however it does not cover personal information such as patient records which are covered by the Data Protection Act.

Public authorities include government departments, local authorities, the NHS, state schools and police forces. 

The act is enforced by the Information Commissioner who regulates both the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data Protection Act 2018