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FOIwiki - helping you unlock the secrets of UK Freedom of Information laws

FOIwiki is designed to help you ensure your Freedom of Information requests are fairly treated by Public Authorities. Often the Authority will misapply an Exemption to your request and not supply the information you're after. This site allows you to check the law and official guidance all in one place.

How FOI works

The Freedom of Information laws all roughly follow the same process, although there are some subtle differences:

  1. You make an information request to a public authority. The authority can ask you to clarify this.Normally the request won't cost you anything, but occasionally the authority may ask you to pay a fee to cover printing and postage or other costs
  2. within 20 working days the authority will normally either send you the information you asked for or will refuse to send it, claiming one or more exemptions that are allowed to them under the laws.
  3. for refusals, you can ask to the authority to reconsider the way your request was handled.
  4. if that doesn't work you also have the right to appeal to a tribunal/court.

the Law

Main article: access to information laws

The following rules apply to FOI requests in the UK. Follow the links for more details on process and exemption guidance:

Type UK Central Gov., England, Wales and NI Scotland Cross-border (NI/ROI)
General Freedom of Information Act 2000 Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002
Environmental Environmental Information Regulations 2004 Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004
Geo-spatial data sets INSPIRE Regulations 2009 INSPIRE (Scotland) Regulations 2009
Codes of practice     North/South Bodies Freedom of Information Code of Practice

FOIwiki also has pages on Freedom of Information in the Crown Dependencies (the Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey).

Official guidance

Make an FOI request

WhatDoTheyKnow is an easy-to-use website that allows you to make FOI requests to over 15,000 public authorities. All correspondence, including any information released by the public authority is automatically published on the website, for you to find and read. currently accounts for around 15% of all FOI requests made in the UK[1]

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