The UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

Guide to Freedom of Information

Guide to Freedom of Information

This Guide explains your obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, answers many frequently asked questions and gives practical examples to illustrate how to apply the Act in practice.

Alternatively, you can download a pdf version of the Guide.


What is the Freedom of Information Act?

Find out about the principles behind the Act, which public authorities are covered, what your obligations are and how the Act interacts with other laws.

What information do we need to publish?

Read about publication schemes, what kind of information you should include in your guide to information and how much you can charge.

What should we do when we receive a request for information?

Find out how to decide if a request is valid, how long you have to deal with it, what to do if a request is unclear, and how much you can charge.

When can we refuse a request for information?

View details about the exemptions, vexatious or repeated requests, the public interest test, your duty to confirm or deny, refusal notices and internal reviews.

What happens when someone complains?

Find out what happens if someone makes a complaint about you to the ICO. Decision notices and appeals are covered in this section.


Useful resources