What is Freedom of Information?
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides public access to information held by public authorities.
It does this in two ways:
- public authorities are obliged to publish certain information about their activities; and
- Members of the public are entitled to request information from public authorities.
You can read more in our leaflet about Freedom of Information (FOI).
What does the FOI Act cover?
The FOI Act covers any recorded information that is held by a public authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and by UK-wide public authorities based in Scotland.
Information held by Scottish public authorities is covered by Scotland’s own Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
Public authorities include government departments, local authorities, the NHS, state schools and police forces. However, the Act does not necessarily cover every organisation that receives public money.
For example, it does not cover some charities that receive grants and certain private sector organisations that perform public functions.
Recorded information includes printed documents, computer files, letters, emails, photographs, and sound or video recordings.
Can I request information about myself under FOI?
The FOI Act does not give you access to your own personal information such as Housing Benefit or Grant files.
If you wish to see information that we hold on you as an individual, then you would need to make a Data Subject Request.
You can read more information about how to make a request in our section on Data Protection.
Can I request Environmental Information under FOI?
The FOI Act does not give you access to Environmental Information as this is covered by the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. However the process to make a request is the same as outlined below.
How to make an FOI request?
If the information you want is not routinely published, you can make a request for it under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or, for environmental information, the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 at the details below;
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or by post to:
Freedom of Information
Planning Performance Risk & Governance
2 Adelaide Street
Belfast, BT2 8PB