There are a number of tools available to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for taking action to help organisations follow the Freedom of Information Act, Environmental Information Regulations, INSPIRE Regulations, Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations and associated codes of practice. They include non-criminal enforcement and assessments of good practice.

Specifically, where authorities or public sector bodies repeatedly or seriously fail to meet the requirements of the legislation, or conform to the associated codes of practice, the ICO can take the following action:

  • conduct assessments to check organisations are complying with the Act;
  • serve information notices requiring organisations to provide the ICO with specified information within a certain time period;
  • issue undertakings committing an authority to a particular course of action to improve its compliance;
  • serve enforcement notices where there has been a breach of the Freedom of Information Act or Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations, requiring organisations to take (or refrain from taking) specified steps in order to ensure they comply with the law;
  • issue recommendations specifying steps the organisation should take to comply;
  • issue decision notices detailing the outcome of the ICO’s investigation to publically highlight particular issues with an organisation’s handling of a specific request;
  • prosecute those who commit criminal offences under the Act; and
  • report to Parliament on freedom of information issues of concern.

Read more about the action we've taken:

Appeals from notices are heard by the First–tier Tribunal (Information Rights), part of the General Regulatory Chamber (GRC). The First–tier Tribunal (Information Rights) specifically hears appeals of enforcement notices, decision notices and information notices issued by the Information Commissioner. The GRC brings together a range of previously separate tribunals that hear appeals on regulatory issues.