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.

What is the FOI self-assessment toolkit?

The toolkit is designed to help public authorities assess their current FOI performance and provide indicators of where efforts should be focused in order to improve. It also provides templates for taking improvement actions.

The toolkit currently has two topics. We will continue to develop further topics.

What are the benefits?

Good FOI practice benefits public authorities. As well as complying with the law, there are reputational and financial benefits from efficient and effective FOI practices.

It also provides an opportunity to develop a relationship with the public based on openness and transparency.

How does it work?

The first decision you have to make is which topic you want to assess your performance against. Once you have decided you can then work through each of the modules in the topic. It is important to complete all topics to give you a full understanding of where all opportunities for improvement lie.

You will be asked to assess your performance as good, adequate or unsatisfactory in a number of areas against a set of criteria. At the end of a module you will receive an overall rating for your performance in that area and list of your responses. The responses are for your benefit and are not shared with the ICO. You do not need to complete a full topic in one sitting but you should complete a full module as there is no option to save your progress.

The toolkit does not refer to the Environmental Information Regulations (2004) but can be used to assess both laws.

What happens after I complete a module?

You can download the report as a Word document. Alternatively, we have created an Excel action plan template for you to complete after you have undertaken each module. This consists of a list of the performance areas you were asked about and a column for your question ratings. We have also added additional columns for you to populate that we think will help you make an actionable plan for improvement.

Topic 1 - Timeliness

This module considers the timeliness of responses to information requests.

It contains five modules, which will each take between five to 15 minutes to complete.   

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Topic 2 - Section 12 - Exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit

This module considers how well a public authority is currently performing their application of section 12.

It contains five modules, which will each take between five to 15 minutes to complete. 

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