The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoI) came fully into force on January 1 2005. Under the Act, any person has a legal right to ask for access to information held by the school. They are entitled to be told whether the school holds the information, and to receive a copy, subject to certain exemptions.
It is important to note that it is an offence to wilfully conceal, damage or destroy information in order to avoid responding to an enquiry, so it is important that no records that are the subject of an enquiry are amended or destroyed.
Requests under FoI can be addressed to anyone in the school; so all staff need to be aware of the process for dealing with requests. Requests must be made in writing, (including email), and should include the enquirers name and correspondence address, and state what information they require. They do not have to mention the Act, nor do they have to say why they want the information.
There is a duty to respond to all requests, telling the enquirer whether or not the information is held, and supplying any information that is held, except where exemptions apply. There is no need to collect data in specific response to an FoI enquiry. There is a time limit of 20 days excluding school holidays for responding to the request.
All the guidance information contained on these pages has been developed by the Office of the Information Commissioner (Website available here: Data Protection and Freedom of Information advice ) who are the responsible authority for overseeing the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act.
For full advice and guidance you can contact the ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545745. It's open between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Their Textphone service is available between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Guide to the Freedom of Information Act
This guide explains your school’s obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, answers many frequently asked questions and gives practical examples to illustrate how to apply the Act in practice download a pdf version of the Guide
Freedom of Information - General
Advice and Assistance
Codes of Practice
Confirm or Deny
Costs and Fees
Public Interest Test
Refusing a Request
Time for Compliance
Vexatious or Repeated Requests