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Freedom of Information Act 2000

  • Explanatory Notes Table of contents

Please note:

All reference to 'Parts' and 'sections' are from the Freedom of Information Act 2000. For other versions of these Explanatory Notes, see More Resources.

  1. Introduction

  2. Background

  3. The Act

    1. Part I: Access to information held by public authorities

    2. Part II: Exempt information

    3. Part III: General functions of Secretary of State, Lord Chancellor and Information Commissioner

    4. Part IV: Enforcement

    5. Part V: Appeals

    6. Part VI: Historical records and records in Public Record Office or Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

    7. Part VII: Amendments of Data Protection Act 1998

    8. Part VIII: Miscellaneous and supplemental

  4. Commentary on Sections

    1. Part I: Access to information held by public authorities

      1. Right to information

        1. Section 1: Right to information

        2. Section 2: Effect of the exemptions in Part II

        3. Section 3: Public authorities

        4. Section 4: Amendment of Schedule 1

        5. Section 5: Further power to designate public authorities

        6. Section 6: Publicly-owned companies

        7. Section 7: Public authorities to which Act has limited application

        8. Section 8: Request for information

        9. Section 9: Fees

        10. Section 10: Time for compliance with request

        11. Section 11: Means by which communication to be made

        12. Section 12: Exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit

        13. Section 13: Fees for disclosure where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit

        14. Section 14: Vexatious or repeated requests

        15. Section 15: Special provisions relating to public records transferred to Public Record Office,

        16. Section 16: Duty to provide advice and assistance

      2. Refusal of request

        1. Section 17: Refusal of request

      3. provides that a notice under subsection (1), (3) or (5) must contain particulars of any procedure the authority has for dealing with complaints, or a statement that the authority does not have such a procedure, and must contain particulars of the right conferred by section 50 (application for a decision by the Commissioner).

        72.

        1. The Information Commissioner and the Information Tribunal

          1. Section 18: The Information Commissioner and the Information Tribunal

      4. Publication schemes

        1. Section 19: Publication schemes

        2. Section 20: Model publication schemes

    2. Part II:  Exempt information

      1. Section 21: Information accessible to public by other means

      2. Section 22: Information intended for future publication

      3. Section 23: Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters

      4. Section 24: National security

      5. Section 25: Certificates under ss 23 and 24: supplementary provisions

      6. Section 26: Defence

      7. Section 27: International relations

      8. Section 28: Relations within the United Kingdom

      9. Section 29: The economy

      10. Section 30: Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities

      11. Section 31: Law enforcement

      12. Section 32: Court records,

      13. Section 33: Audit functions

      14. Section 34: Parliamentary privilege

      15. Section 35: Formulation of Government policy

      16. Section 36: Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs

      17. Section 37: Communications with Her Majesty, and honours

      18. Section 38: Health and safety

      19. Section 39: Environmental information

      20. Section 40: Personal information

      21. Section 41: Information provided in confidence

      22. Section 42: Legal professional privilege

      23. Section 43: Commercial interests

      24. Section 44: Prohibitions on disclosure

    3. Part III: General functions of Secretary of State, Lord Chancellor and Information Commissioner

      1. Section 45: Issue of code of practice by Secretary of State

      2. Section 46: Issue of code of practice by Lord Chancellor

      3. Section 47: General functions of Commissioner

      4. Section 48: Recommendations as to good practice

      5. Section 49: Reports to be laid before Parliament

    4. Part IV: Enforcement

      1. Section 50: Application for decision by Commissioner

      2. Section 51: Information notices

      3. Section 52: Enforcement notices

      4. Section 53: Exception from duty to comply with decision notice or enforcement notice

      5. Section 54: Failure to comply with notice

      6. Section 55: Powers of entry and inspection

      7. Section 56: No action against public authority

    5. Part V: Appeals

      1. Section 57: Appeal against notices served under Part IV

      2. Section 58: Determination of appeals

      3. Section 59: Appeals from the decision of Tribunal

      4. Section 60: Appeals against national security certificate

      5. Section 61: Appeal proceedings

    6. Part VI: Historical records and records in Public Record Office or Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

      1. Section 62: Interpretation of Part VI

      2. Section 63: Removal of exemptions: historical records generally

      3. Section 64: Removal of exemptions: historical records in public record offices

      4. Section 65: Decisions as to refusal of discretionary disclosure of historical records

      5. Section 66: Decisions relating to certain transferred public records

      6. Section 67: Amendments of public records legislation

    7. Part VII: Amendments of Data Protection Act 1998

      1. Sections 68 to 73

    8. Part VIII: Miscellaneous and supplemental

      1. Section 74: Power to make provision relating to environmental information.

      2. Section 75: Power to amend or repeal enactments prohibiting disclosure of information

      3. Section 76: Disclosure of information between Commissioner and ombudsmen

      4. Section 77: Offence of altering records with intent to prevent disclosure

      5. Section 78: Saving for existing powers

      6. Section 79: Defamation

      7. Section 80: Scotland

      8. Section 81: Application to government departments,

      9. Section 82: Orders and regulations

      10. Section 83: Meaning of a "Welsh public authority"

      11. Section 85: Expenses

      12. Section 87: Commencement

    9. Schedules

      1. Schedule 1: Public authorities

      2. Schedule 2: The Commissioner and the Tribunal

        1. Part I: Provision consequential on section 18(1) and (2)

        2. Part II: Amendments relating to extension of functions of Commissioner and Tribunal

      3. Schedule 3: Powers of entry and inspection

        1. Issue of Warrants

        2. Execution of warrants

        3. Matters exempt from inspection and seizure

        4. Return of warrants

        5. Offences

        6. Vessels, vehicles

        7. Scotland and Northern Ireland

      4. Schedule 4: Appeal Proceedings – Amendments of Schedule 6 to Data Protection Act 1998

        1. Constitution of Tribunal in national security cases

        2. Constitution of Tribunal in other cases

        3. Rules of procedure

      5. Schedule 5: Amendments of public records legislation

        1. Functions of the Advisory Council on Public Records

        2. Access to Public Records

        3. Power to extend the meaning of ‘public records’

      6. Schedule 6: Further amendments of Data Protection Act 1998

      7. Schedule 7: Disclosure of information by ombudsmen

      8. Schedule 8: Repeals

  5. Hansard References

  • Explanatory Notes Table of contents

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.

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