What is the Freedom of Information Act?


The Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides a public right to access information held by authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 applies to Scotland.

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The aim is to hold public authorities accountable whilst encouraging openness to increase public trust and confidence.

How is information accessed?

There are two ways the Act instructs public authorities to allow access to information: by publishing information proactively and by releasing information when requested.

What information is available?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) defines ‘public authorities’ as organisations working in the public interest with public funding. This includes governmental departments, local authorities, the NHS, public schools and police forces.

Although they receive public money, the act doesn’t cover organisations such as charities receiving grants or some private sector organisations performing public functions.

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The act does not allow access to any personal information such as an individual’s health, credit or employment records. If you wish to access your personal information, you can make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act 2018.

Some organisations, such as GPs, dentists and other health practitioners, only have to provide certain information under the act, such as how their work relates to the NHS.

If you would like more information on how this act dictates what’s available for release and how to obtain it, speak to a local solicitors Manchester based
https://bridgelawsolicitors.co.uk/offices/wilmslow-manchester/ are experts in legislation relating to the release of various types of information.


The key principles of the Freedom of Information Act involve people having a right to know about the behaviour of public authorities. This can be broken down as follows:

1. Everyone has the right to access official information, even if they’re not a citizen or resident of the UK, or work for another organisation;
2. A person submitting the request for information doesn’t need to provide reasons as to why they want this information;
3. All requests for information must be treated equally unless certain circumstances apply;
4. Anyone requesting information must be treated equally: if you disclose information under the act to one person you must treat it as though disclosed to “the world at large”;
5. If information is refused, the onus is on the public authority to justify why the information has not been given.

Written by suNCh8

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