We publish a lot of information about the work we do and about the ICO as a public authority. There are a number of ways to access this information:
- Our guide to information explains the information we publish and how to access it. The most popular information links are:
- Boards, committees and minutes
- Performance and statistics
- Regulatory action we have taken
- Policies and procedures
- You can check to see if we have given the information before as a result of someone else’s request. We post these responses online. You can search through previous responses.
- If you don’t find what you are looking for and would like to ask us about our work you can contact us.
- You can also write to us to ask for information we hold.
Requesting information from the ICO
Festive Period Office Closure
Please note that the ICO will close for the Festive period at 12noon on Friday 22nd December and will reopen at 9am on Tuesday 2nd January. Case handling will cease during this period. Where possible, Information Access will aim to issue responses due during this period prior to the Festive closure. However, if it is not possible to issue a response before the office closes, then you should anticipate receiving it in the New Year after the offices reopen.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is not a library holding all public information. It only holds recorded information which directly links with casework and investigations involving data protection issues. We do not operate as a general source of information or as a store for information held by other public authorities. If you want information held by a public authority, for example your local council, NHS Trust, or central government, then you need to make your request directly to the relevant authority. You should be able to find information how to do this on their website. It is not necessary to copy the ICO into emails exchanged with a public authority when making a request for information. However, if a request is not responded within the legal statutory time frame, a complaint can be made to the ICO.
When you ask us for information please try to be as clear as possible. This will help us understand your request and respond to you promptly. We might ask you for clarification if we are not sure what you are looking for. If we do hold the information we will provide it unless we think it should be withheld for reasons covered by the exemptions in the legislation. For more information about why information may be withheld please read our guidance, alternatively, Information Access can be contacted on [email protected].
Please note that this email address is only to be used for writing to us to ask for information we hold. It should not be used to make general enquires or to send reminders in respect of other parts of the business. If you are wanting to do that, please head to the Contact us page for the relevant contact information.
You can also request information from us through WhatDoTheyKnow (WDTK). When a request is made through WDTK, the response is automatically published and archived on the WDTK website.
In addition you can write to us at:
Information Access Team
Information Commissioner's Office
When you ask us for information please try to be as clear as possible. This will help us understand your request and respond to you promptly. We might ask you for clarification if we are not sure what you are looking for. If we do hold the information we will provide it unless we think it should be withheld for reasons covered by the exemptions in the legislation. For more information about why information may be withheld please read our guidance.
Dealing with your request
If you write to us about our work as a public authority, we will deal with these requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. If you are asking for environmental information, we will consider this under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. For further advice about requesting information effectively, see our guidance on how to access official information. We will respond to your request within 20 working days.
You can also ask us for personal information we might hold about you. We will usually only hold information about you if you've dealt with us before; we typically keep this information for a maximum of two years.
We deal with these requests under the Data Protection Act 2018 and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We respond to requests within 28 calendar days.
The GDPR also provides you with other rights relating to personal information that we hold about you. You can see more about these rights and how to make a request about them in the ‘Your data protection rights’ section of our privacy notice.
For information about what we do with personal data see our privacy notice.
Information access manual
This Manual has been written for use by the Information Access Team at the ICO to assist us in our handling of requests we receive under information rights legislation, including, but not limited to, the FOIA, EIR and data protection legislation. It contains specific information about the processes and programmes we use during the lifespan of an information request. Whilst it may provide insight as to how the ICO manages the requests it receives, other organisations should not treat it as a set of instructions. The Manual outlines the processes that work for us given the size and structure of our Information Access team – the same processes may not work in other organisations. It is not intended to cover every eventuality we may come across, but rather to provide a consistent foundation to guide our staff and that underpins our request handling processes. We have made a small number of redactions to the Manual – these relate to information that is inappropriate to share publicly including file paths and internal email addresses – but they do not detract from the content or principles of the Manual.
The templates you see below are currently used by the ICO to assist us in responding to information rights requests. They have been written for the purposes of the ICO as a controller and public authority and may not be suitable for those of other organisations in the exact format you see them here. These templates are tailored and expanded upon according to the circumstances of each individual case. We should point out that some templates feature exemptions that relate to the ICO’s function as a regulator and will not necessarily be usable by other organisations. We are sharing the Manual and templates to align with our ICO25 commitment to promote openness, transparency and accountability, and to provide an additional resource that organisations may find helpful to their own request handling processes.
We hope that the Manual and templates are of interest but advise that it is the responsibility of any organisation that uses them to ensure that they comply with current legislation.