Organisations and officials with public responsibilities that are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act

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This is a list of:

  • Organisations which have public responsibilities and/or receive public funding and
  • Public Officials

Who are NOT subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or the equivalent Act for Scotland.

This list may include certain organisations making use of assets or land owned by the Crown even where they are self-financing and similar organisations. The list also includes industry bodies and professional bodies with regulatory/supervisory functions.

What is the point of this list? It may help people who want to write to the Ministry of Justice to get these organisations/officials added.

Some of these bodies comply voluntarily with FOI does it matter that they are not subject? Yes, it is not unusual for people requesting an exemption to disagree with public authorities about whether or not exemptions apply. This can be resolved by an appeal to the independent Information Commissioner, but that is only possible in cases where the authority is subject to the Act.

See also:

Advertising Standards Authority

"The Advertising Standards Authority regulates the content of advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing in the UK." [1]

Air Travel Trust

Included in "Whole of Government Accounts". The purpose of the Air Travel Trust is to manage and apply the Trust Fund for the benefit of customers of failed tour operators. [2]

Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC)

Banks that have been nationalised, including Northern Rock

Not subject to the Act:

  • Northern Rock - Currently owned 100% by the Government, but exempt under the terms of The Northern Rock plc Transfer Order 2008 No. 432 [3]
  • The elements of the following banks taken over by the Bank of England are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act due to these laws:
  • The Heritable Bank plc Transfer of Certain Rights and Liabilities Order 2008 No. 2644 [4] - parts transferred to BoE subsidiary "Deposits Management (Heritable) Limited".
  • The Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Limited Transfer of Certain Rights and Liabilities Order 2008 No. 2674 [5] - parts transferred to BoE subsidiary "Deposits Management (Edge) Limited"
  • The Bradford & Bingley plc Transfer of Securities and Property etc. Order 2008 No. 2546 [6]
  • Amendments to Law (Resolution of Dunfermline Building Society) Order 2009 No. 814 [7] - social housing loans of Dunfermline’s customers (and related deposits) are the parts transferred to BoE the so-called " Dunfermline Bridge Bank"[8]

"When it comes to this government and freedom of information, they would make Fidel Castro proud. Why are you covering it up?"[9]

It is important to note that the following financial institutions are subject to the Act:

  • Bank of England
  • certain muninicipal banks such as
    • North Ayrshire Municipal Bank Limited
    • East Dunbartonshire Municipal Bank Limited
  • National Savings and Investments
  • Post Office

Bar Council and Bar Standards Board

British Board of Film Classification (BBFC)

The BBFC is an independent, non-governmental body, which has classifies cinema films and videos. (Video Recordings Act in 1984).

British Film Institute

Included in the Whole of Government Accounts. The BFI received over £14 million of Grant-in-aid in 2008.

British Standards Institution (BSI)

The BSI is a private company with some public responsibilities:

"BSI British Standards is recognised as the UK National Standards Body (NSB) by the UK Government. The UK NSB role is performed by BSI British Standards on behalf of the UK Government and principally involves the representation of the UK in European and International standards fora."[10]

British Telecom, in respect of information held for the purpose of meeting its Universal Service Obligation

"The USO is a safety net that makes sure people on low incomes, and other customers who might be at a disadvantage, can have a phone service."[11]

British National Formulary Joint Formulary Committee

The British National Formulary is a joint publication of the British Medical Association and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. The Joint Formulary Committee is responsible for its content the committee includes representation from the Department of Health as well as the BMA and RPSGB. [12] [13]

Business Improvement Districts

Established under Part 4 of the Local Government Act 2003.[14]. The BIDs are funded by a BID levy on local businesses.

Capita Gas Registration and Ancillary Services Limited

"Gas Safe Register is run by Capita Gas Registration and Ancillary Services Limited"[15]

"Gas Safe Register is the official gas registration body for Great Britain (GB)..., appointed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for Great Britain..."[16]

Churches Conservation Trust

Included in Whole of Government Accounts. "its sponsor, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, expect it to perform as one in relation to the [Freedom of Information] Act, and it is the Trust’s intention to do so."[17]

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

78% of funding comes from the UK Government.[18]

Confederation of the Cinque Ports, The

"To this day, the Cinque Ports Court of Admiralty has jurisdiction over an extensive area of the North Sea and the English Channel, including the Straits of Dover which are amongst the busiest shipping lanes in the World, although the Court has not sat for many years."


Coroners "are independent judicial officers appointed and paid for by the relevant local authorities who are responsible for investigating violent, unnatural deaths or sudden deaths of unknown cause and deaths in custody that are reported to them."

"Coroners are not designated as public authorities under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and therefore their records are not subject to the information access regime of this Act. There is a separate information access regime for such records over which the Commissioner has no jurisdiction"

"Please be aware however that the Coroner is not subject to Freedom of Information and a request to him under that heading would most likely be refused"

Corporate Officer of the House of Commons

The corporate officer is a corporation sole.

Corporate Officer of the House of Lords

The corporate officer is a corporation sole.

Crown Estate Paving Commission

"The Crown Estate Paving Commission (CEPC) was established in 1813. It maintains the terrace gardens (Ornamental Enclosures), the railings around them and the terrace access roads and pavements. The CEPC is responsible for the provision and maintenance of street lighting and street furniture in Regent's Park. It also maintains the roadways in York Gate, Chester Gate, Park Square East and West and pavements all around the outside of the Outer Circle. Its other functions include the regulation of parking in the private roadways, the collection of domestic refuse, patrolling the estate"

Court Funds Office

The Court Funds office administers funds paid 'into court' as a result of civil proceedings in courts in England and Wales, including the High Court.

Dartmoor Commoners' Council

DBS Bridge Bank Limited

The Bank of England has selected Nationwide Building Society as the preferred bidder for the social housing loans and related deposits...

Duchy of Cornwall

"Under the 1337 charter, and as confirmed by subsequent legislation, The Prince of Wales is not entitled to the proceeds or profit on the sale of assets, and only receives the annual income which they generate, which is voluntarily subject to income tax. Because of the importance of the beneficiary, the Duchy’s ‘trust provisions’ have, over the years, been set out in legislation, with the financial security of the Duchy overseen by HM Treasury." [19]

Duchy of Lancashire

"The Duchy's main purpose is to provide income for the Sovereign as Duke of Lancaster, although the Sovereign is not entitled to any of the capital assets of the Duchy. Established over 700 years ago, the Duchy of Lancaster is a body created under Charter."

A tribunal has ruled that the Duchy of Lancaster is not to be subject to EIR.

Ecclesiastical Committee

??? - unless included as part of House of Commons and House of Lords

"The Ecclesiastical Committee is a statutory Committee appointed under the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919. It comprises thirty members, fifteen of whom are Members of Parliament and fifteen of whom are members of the House of Lords, all appointed by the Lord Chancellor."

Electoral Registration Officer

See Returning Officer

Exam Boards

Bodies that set exams for Schools and Universities.

e.g. "The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) is the largest of the three English exam boards, awarding 49% of full course GCSEs and 42% of A-levels nationally. In total, students take over 3.5 million exams with us each year. "[20]

An Exam Board that is a wholly owned subsidiaries of a university is subject to the Act (see Section 6).

The Royal Colleges of Surgeons also act as exam boards and in that role control access to aspects of the medical profession [21]

Financial Reporting Council

"The Financial Reporting Council is the UK’s independent regulator responsible for promoting confidence in corporate governance and reporting. We promote high standards of corporate governance through the Combined Code,..." [22]

Financial Services Compensation Scheme Limited

Appears not to be subject to the Act.[23]

"The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is the UK's statutory fund of last resort for customers of authorised financial services firms. This means that FSCS can pay compensation if a firm is unable, or likely to be unable, to pay claims against it. FSCS is an independent body, set up under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA)."

Guild HE

Is this subject?

Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)

High Sheriffs

Contemporary High Sheriffs have few genuine responsibilities and their functions are largely representational they include:

  • Proclamation of the accession of a new sovereign.
  • They usually act as the Returning Officer for Parliamentary elections in county constituencies and see to the annual appointment of an undersheriff.
  • Attendance at the opening ceremony when a High Court Judge goes on circuit.
  • Execution of High Court writs.

Wikipedia Article

Housing Associations

Vast majority are not subject to FOI (in theory one could be if it was wholly owned by a local authority). Based on a recent ruling by the Information Commissioner[24], they are subject to the Environment Information Regulations.

""When council housing is transferred to a housing association or when a charitable trust is established to run local authority leisure and recreation services, local people and employees may find that they have lost freedom of information rights at a stroke, as these bodies are not regarded as public authorities."

Kevin Dunion, Scottish Information Commissioner - [25]

History of Parliament Trust, The

"It is now funded principally through two sets of Grant-in-Aid provided by the House of Commons and the House of Lords, currently in the proportion 80:20. The Grant-in-Aid is provided subject to the approval of the House of Commons Commission (for the Commons) and the House of Lords House Committee (for the Lords). A Financial Memorandum, agreed in 1995 governs the financial and administrative arrangements for the activities of the Trust and its relationship with the House of Commons Commission, and the accountability for the Grant-in-Aid."

Humber Bridge Board

(unless it is a joint committee)

Improvement and Development Agency for local government (IDeA)

"The Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) is not subject to the provisions of either the Environmental Information Regulations or the Freedom of Information Act (FoI), but they comply with requests made under the legislation as if they were."

Independent Sector Treatment Centres (ISTC)

"Treatment Centres (TCs) offer safe, fast, pre-booked day and short-stay surgery and diagnostic procedures in areas that have traditionally had the longest waiting times, such as ophthalmology and orthopaedics. TCs will play an important part in modernising the NHS and delivering a patient-centred health service. Whether NHS-run or managed by companies in the independent sector, the additional capacity TCs provide will be crucial in bringing down waiting times and giving patients more choice about when and where they are treated." [26]

ISTCs are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. The contract relating to the one ISTC in Scotland has been released under FOI(S)A [27] though information held by the ISTC has not been released.

Whereas all organisations providing primary care in the NHS are subject to the FOI act; private care providers operating in other areas of the NHS are not currently subject to the act.

Independent Penalty Fares Appeals Service (IPFAS), The

"4.39 Every penalty fares scheme which has so far been approved has arranged for appeals to be dealt with by the Independent Penalty Fares Appeals Service (IPFAS), in line with the IPFAS code of practice. We have approved this code of practice for the purposes of rule 9."

"IPFAS is managed by Connex SouthEastern Ltd, but as a separate unit whose management does not report to the commercial director. When the Regulator asked for opinions from the public and the rail industry a few years ago, most people agreed that appeals must be dealt with independently and consistently, but there was little agreement on what the practical arrangements should be"[28]

Inquiries (non-judicial)

" relation to the records of inquiries held under this Act, the general exemptions for the records of statutory inquiries in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 ("the FOI Acts") will not apply. During the course of an inquiry held under the Inquiries Act, that inquiry is not a public authority for the purposes of those Acts. However, once an inquiry is over, its records are generally held by a public authority, such as a Government Department or the National Archives"

ILEX Professional Standards Limited (IPS)

"Created in October 2008 to ensure that ILEX complies with its responsibilities as an approved regulator of lawyers under the Legal Services Act 2007." [30]

Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX)

"We work closely with Government and the Ministry of Justice and are recognised in England and Wales as one of the three core regulators of the legal profession alongside barristers and solicitors."[31]

Internal drainage boards (post-1991)

While internal drainage boards that existed before 1991 are subject to the Act, it appears that ones created since 1991 are not. This appears to be a simple drafting error.

Law Society

Please see:

Legal Complaints Service (LCS)

"The Legal Complaints Service (LCS) is an independent complaints handling body. We are part of the Law Society, but operate independently."[32]

The Local Government Association

"In 1997, local government came together and created the Local Government Association to be its voice in the national arena.

Based in Westminster, close to the Houses of Parliament and Whitehall, the LGA is a voluntary lobbying organisation, acting as the voice of the local government sector, and an authoritative and effective advocate on its behalf. "

Local Medical Committees

Statutory bodies representing interests of GPs, GPs themselves are subject to the Act.

Local Safeguarding Children Boards

"Children can only be safeguarded properly if the key agencies work effectively together. Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) are designed to help ensure that this happens. They put the former area child protection committees (ACPCs) on a statutory footing." [33]

There are around 152 of these committees.

Lord Lieutenants

The modern responsibilities of lord-lieutenants include:

  • Arranging visits of members of the Royal family and escorting Royal visitors;
  • Presenting medals and awards on behalf of the Sovereign, and advising on Honours nominations;
  • Leading the local magistracy as Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Justices of the Peace; and
  • Chairing the local Advisory Committee for the Appointment of the General Commissioners of Income Tax, a tribunal which hears appeals against decisions made by the HM Revenue and Customs on a variety of different tax related matters.

Wikipedia Article

Magistrates' Association

"Promotes uniformity of practice"

because about 80% of Magistrates are members the guidance the organisation gives could have a significant impact on the administration of justice.

about page for Magistrates' Association

Manchester Airport

Ten local authorities of Greater Manchester own over 60% of MAG.

Market Research Society (MRS)

"MRS supports best practice by setting and enforcing industry standards. The commitment to uphold the MRS Code of Conduct is supported by the Codeline service and a wide range of specialist guidelines."[34] "

National Air Traffic Services

"NATS provides air traffic control services at 15 of the UK's biggest airports, and "en-route" air traffic services for aircraft flying through UK airspace"[35]

National Anti-Fraud Network

NAFN is an a organisation established by local councils to assist them in fighting fraud, it acts as a centralised spy HQ for local councils. NAFN offers services including access to live subscriber, service and traffic data for phone and internet communications, it also acts as an central exchange for information collected by councils on individuals. [36], [37]

National Grid plc

"National Grid owns the high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales and operates the system across Great Britain. It also owns and operates the high pressure gas transmission system in Britain and its distribution business delivers gas to 11 million homes and businesses."

The ICO has ruled that the National Grid is not subject to EIR.

National Crime Agency

Navigation Authorities

A quarter of the UKs inland waterways are controlled by 30 navigation authorities drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors. [38]

The Conservators of the River Cam are an example

(The Environment Agency, the Broads Authority and British Waterways Board are already subject to the Act.)

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited (and Network Rail Limited)

Network Rail will be subject FOI from April 2015.


Nominet is the internet registry for .uk domain names. [39]

Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA)

The Higher Education Act 2004 provides for the appointment of a designated operator of a student complaints scheme in England and Wales. The OIA is the designated operator of the Scheme with effect from 1 January 2005.

Official Solicitor and Public Trustee

The Official Solicitor is part of the judicial system of England and Wales (excluding Scotland and Northern Ireland), while the Public Trustee is a separate and independent statutory body, and both are appointed by the Lord Chancellor and administered as part of the Ministry of Justice.


Openreach is the division was created to "Ensure that all rival operators have equality of access to BT's own local network". The local network or "access network" is the wiring connecting customers to their local telephone exchange, starting at the Main Distribution Frame (MDF) in the exchange and ending at the network termination point (NTP) at the end user's premises. Wikipedia Article on Openreach

Organisations made up of representatives of a number of authorities

For example, the conference of Oxford colleges [40]


The college Bursars' committee "at" the University of Cambridge [41] [42]

Parking Adjudicators

The ICO has received complaints about Parking Adjudicators[43]

PhonepayPlus Limited

previously called ICSTIS[44]

"Under the Communications Act 2003, Ofcom has responsibility for the regulation of premium rate services. In December 2007 it was confirmed that PhonepayPlus will act as the agency which carries out the day-to-day regulation of the PRS market on Ofcom's behalf."[45]

In decision notice FER0265609, the IC found that PhonepayPlus was a public authority for EIR purposes.

Port Authorities

The Port of London was found to be subject to EIR, but the Port Authorities of England are not subject to the Act.

Private sector companies that carry out public duties

"It's just been revealed that the government will be extending freedom of information to cover some private sector organisations...Those private bodies affected will be some of those who carry out functions on behalf of public authorities. ...disclosed this afternoon by the Justice Minister Michael Wills"[46]

"Love Cambridge", the Cambridge City Centre Management organisation, private limited company part funded and owned by the public sector and fulfilling a role at least part of which used to be carried out by the city council is one specific example of what is probably a very large number of private companies with a public role (which also benefit from public funding and support). [47]

Private prisons

'Private' in the sense of control or ownership but with serious public responsibilities.

Private security firms working for the British Government

"Private security firms working for British government departments in Iraq or Afghanistan should be candidates for designation."

taken from CFOI's response to a Government consultation

Publicly Owned Companies

If a company meets one (or more) of the following conditions it will be subject to FOI:

  • it is listed in Schedule 1 of the Act
  • it is wholly owned by the Crown
  • it is wholly owned by the Crown and any number of public authorities

However there are many companies more than 50% owned by a number of public authorities that do not meet the definition.


  • Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)
  • Manchester Airport plc

[list below needs updating]

  • Better Tomorrows Community Interest Company [48]
  • East of England Regional Control Centre Limited [49]
  • Gloucester City Airport Limited
  • Stirling Enterprise Park Limited
  • South West England Regional Network Limited (SWERN)
  • South West Grid for Learning

in other cases representatives of public bodies are members of companies

  • Russell Group

other possible examples of companies funded and/or controlled by public authorities

  • Black Country Consortium
  • Employers' Organisation for Local Government
  • The JNT Association (JANET)

Quality Assurance Agency


Head of State and in charge of the British Armed Forces.

Regional Climate Change Partnerships

The Freedom of Information Act does not apply to regional climate change partnerships [50], created as a result of the Climate Change Act 2008.

"The Regional Climate Change Partnership is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI Act), as it is not included in Schedule 1 of the FOI Act. It also does not appear to meet the necessary criteria, as laid out in the legislation, for a public body to be added to the FOI Act via a Section 4 Order."[51]

Regional Technical Advisory Boards

The Freedom of Information Act does not apply to Regional Technical Advisory Boards [52]

Registered Social Landlords

See Housing Associations.

Returning Officer

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not list any person appointed under the Representation of the People Act 1983. The Electoral Registration Officer, Returning Officer or any other person appointed under the Act are not subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.[53]

Road Safety Partnerships

These are organisations typically "owned" jointly by local councils, police authorities, ambulance services etc. As the FOI act does not apply to organisations owned by more than one public body they are not subject to the act.

Royal Household

The Royal Household aims to provide exceptional support and advice to The Queen, enabling her to serve the nation and its people.

The Royal Household employs over 1,200 staff.

Royal College of Anaesthetists

responsible for: "The development of clinical guidelines for all areas of anaesthetic practice."

Royal College of General Practitioners

"Our work is essential to the process of GP licensing, as trainees cannot practise unsupervised in the NHS until they have completed our MRCGP examination and certification program." [54]

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

"study and advancement of the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. We do this through postgraduate medical education and training development, and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision." [55]

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

"Considering individuals' training records and recommending to the Specialist Training Authority the award of a certificate of completion of training (CCST) allowing a doctor to take up a consultant appointment"[56]

Royal College of Pathologists

"Overseeing the education and training of specialists in all pathology disciplines. ... Setting standards of practice and organising assessment by examinations"

Royal College of Physicians

The RCP publish Clinical guidelines that 'are "systematically developed statements to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances".'

Royal Trustees

Solicitors' Regulation Authority (SRA)

The SRA is part of the Law Society.

"The Act does not yet apply to the Law Society, but we believe in being open about what we do and we make a lot of information publicly available through our website." [57]

Stockport Sports Trust

Andrew Gwynne MP noted the ommission of this body, as example of the need to expand coverage of FOI, while speaking in the House of Commons on 17 October 2006.

Speed Camera Partnerships

"Spying Contractors"

Any companies or individuals performing covert investigations on behalf of organisations able to operate under RIPA

Students' Unions

  • many are financial dependent on grants from the university/college to which they are attached
  • Generally derive their (exempt) charitable status from the university/college to which they are attached

Subsidiary of a public authorities "which is listed only in relation to particular information"

This includes any publically owned companies / subsidiaries of the BBC (eg BBC Worldwide),Channel 4, Gaelic Media Service, S4C, or the Bank of England, as these have special "derogations" in the Freedom of Information Act (eg the BBC is only subject to the Act for information that does not fall into the category of journalism, art or literature). This is specified in the Act in Section 6(1)(b)(ii).

Any Publicly-owned companies / subsidiaries of government departments are also excluded from the Act, unless they are specifically listed in Schedule 1 of the Act. There is a list of the centrally owned companies here on the Shareholder Executive's website

Toll Road Companies

"The Commissioner has received enquiries about these organisations or has formed the view (based on casework) that these organisations should be considered for addition: ... Toll Road Companies"

The power to collect tolls is normally set out in a Statutory Instrument.

  • Statutory Instrument 2003 No. 2186: The M6 Toll (Collection of Tolls) Regulations 2003 S.I. 2003/2186

Trinity House

"The Corporation of Trinity House of Deptford Strond". The General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. Also a Deep Sea Pilotage Authority providing expert navigators for ships trading in Northern European waters.

Trustees of Parliamentary Contributory Pensions Fund

Trustees of House of Commons pension scheme

University visitor

"On 1 January 2005 the role undertaken by the Visitor was assigned to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, under the terms of the Higher Education Act 2004."

Universities UK

Universities UK is an umbrella group for UK higher educational establishments. Universities UK has 133 members, namely the executive heads of all the UK university institutions and some colleges of higher education. It is not subject to the FOI Act but has a statutory role in regulating accommodation (those signed up to a UUK code of practice have exemption from other regulation).


  • The Verderers of the New Forest derive their offices, powers and responsibilities from an Act of Parliament in 1877[60], they were brought into scope of the Freedom of Information Act in 2006. Official Website

Water and Sewage Companies

These companies have no real competition and provide a vital public service. The tribunal is currently considering whether or not these companies are subject to the Environmental Information Regulations. Water and Sewage Companies are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.