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.

Information notices

An Information Notice (IN) may be served where the Commissioner has received an appeal about a public authority’s handling of an information request under section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or reasonably requires information from a public authority in order to enforce the requirements of the Act. In practice the Commissioner generally issues INs where recourse to a formal notice to obtain information is considered appropriate.

The IN will explain what information is required, the reasons why we require it and the timescale within which it must be provided. If a public authority fails to comply with an IN the Commissioner may commence Court proceedings under section 54 of the Act, which may be dealt with as contempt of Court.

In the interests of transparency the Commissioner proactively publishes INs served once the case to which it relates has been concluded.

Cabinet office 17 June 2019
Cabinet office 21 August 2019 
Cabinet office 29 August 2019
Electoral Office for Northern Ireland 09 September 2019
Cabinet office 18 October 2019
Cabinet office 18 October 2019
Cabinet office 05 November 2019
Cabinet office 11 November 2019
The Ministry of Defence 12 November 2019
Department of Health and Social Care  17 December 2019
Cabinet office 17 December 2019
Cabinet office 18 December 2019
Cabinet office 19 December 2019
Department of Health and Social Care 08 January 2020
Home Office 14 January 2020
Cabinet office 14 January 2020
Essex County Council 05 February 2020
Home Office 18 February 2020
Ministry of Justice 20 February 2020
Home Office 26 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care  02 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care  02 March 2020
Cabinet Office 18 December 2019
Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames 4 December 2019
West Sussex County Council 25 June 2020

Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service

06 July 2020

Practice recommendations

A Practice recommendation may be served where the Commissioner has reached a view that the handling of requests by a public authority does not conform to the Freedom of Information Code of Practice. The Commissioner will issue a practice recommendation under section 48(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The Commissioner will outline the steps that ought to be taken by the public authority in order to promote conformity with the Freedom of Information Code of Practice.

If a public authority does not take steps to improve conformity with a practice recommendation this may lead to failure to comply with the Freedom of Information Act, which in turn may result in the issuing of an enforcement notice. A failure to take account of a practice recommendation may lead in some circumstances to an adverse comment in a report to Parliament by the Commissioner.

In the interests of transparency the Commissioner proactively publishes practice recommendations served.

London Borough of Waltham Forest

14 July 2020

Following a number of recent complaints regarding freedom of information requests made to the London Borough of Waltham Forest (LBWF), the Information Commissioner has reached the view that the LBWF’s request handling practices do not conform to the Freedom of Information Code of Practice, issued by the Cabinet Office in July 2018 (the Code).

In particular, the Commissioner considers that the LBWF’s practices have not conformed with the following parts of the Code:

  • Part 1 – Right of Access, Information
  • Part 1 – Right of Access, Means of communication
  • Part 4 – Time limits for responding to requests
  • Part 5 – Internal reviews
  • Part 6 – Cost limit

Therefore, in accordance with section 48(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the FOIA), the Commissioner has elected to issue a practice recommendation (hereafter “recommendation”).

In the ‘Other matters’ section of this recommendation, the Commissioner has highlighted matters which do not fall within the scope of the Code, but which bear, more generally, on the LBWF’s compliance with the FOIA. Accordingly, those elements of her recommendation are issued under section 47(2) of the FOIA.

Section of Act/EIR and Finding: FOI 48(1), FOI 47(2)