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How to make a Freedom of Information request

Do you want to find out information about how much your local council has spent on a royal visit? Or how much a local councillor is spending on overseas travel? Or how about what business interests members of the local authority planning committee have declared? Accessing valuable information held by the Welsh or UK governments, local authorities, police forces, or other public bodies through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request is a breeze. Just follow these steps to make your FOI request with confidence:

Step 01

Identify the relevant government department or public body: pinpoint the specific entity most likely to have the information you need. Ministry, agency, or public institution – find the right one.


Step 02

Craft a clear FOI request: take the time to create a clear and specific FOI request. Be concise and straightforward, stating exactly what information you are seeking. Add relevant details like dates, names, or locations to help narrow down the search. If you want to use a template, click here.


Step 03

Find the designated FOI contact: locate the official FOI contact for the department or authority you identified. For example, visit their website or search "Freedom of Information requests" on gov.uk. Ensure your request reaches the correct recipient.


Step 04

Provide contact details and preferences: include your name, contact information, and your preferred method of response. Let them know if you prefer email or physical mail. This helps ensure smooth communication throughout the process.


Step 05

Submit and await a response: send your FOI request to the designated FOI contact using the provided means. Double-check that everything is clear and concise. Then, patiently wait for a response within the 20 working day timeframe allowed for under the Freedom of Information Act. Remember, while these steps serve as a guide, familiarise yourself with the specific guidelines and procedures outlined by the relevant department or public body. Following the correct process will help ensure a successful and efficient handling of your FOI request.

 

Template

[Your Name]

[Your Address]

[Postcode]

[Email Address]

[Phone Number]

[Date]


Freedom of Information Officer

[Name of Public Authority]

[Address of Public Authority]

[Postcode]


Subject: Request for Information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000


Dear Sir/Madam,


I am writing to request information under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I believe the information I am seeking is within your authority's possession, and I request that you provide me with the following details:

1. [Specify the information you are seeking in as much detail as possible.]

2. [If applicable, include additional points of information you are seeking.]

I understand that under the Freedom of Information Act, I am entitled to be informed whether you hold the requested information and to have that information provided to me within 20 working days. If the information is held but falls under any exemptions in the Act, I kindly request that you provide a written explanation of why the information is exempt from disclosure.

I would prefer to receive the information via email. If for any reason there is a charge for providing the information, please inform me in advance and provide an explanation of the associated costs.


Please consider this communication as a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and kindly confirm receipt of this letter.


If you require any further clarification or have any questions regarding my request, please do not hesitate to contact me using the details provided above.


Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I look forward to your prompt response.


Yours faithfully,

[Your Name]

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