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Freedom of Information Act advice

Freedom of Information Act advice

FOI advice

The right under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) to request information held by public authorities, known as "the right to know", came into force on 1st January 2005.

The Data Protection Act is a separate act to the Freedom of Information Act, and the Information Commissioner is responsible for enforcing both.

Whereas the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) allow you access to a vast range of information on public issues, the DPA gives you a right of access to personal data and protects it from others.

As a general rule, any information you can access about yourself under the DPA cannot be released to others under the FOIA and the EIR. However, some personal information might be disclosed to third parties if it is deemed not to breach the data protection principles set out in the DPA.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) enforces and promotes the Act and the EIR. It has responsibility for ensuring information is disclosed promptly and exemptions from disclosure are applied lawfully.