How to make a request under Freedom of Information legislationEdit


1) Write to the body, asking for the information. 2) If you don't get what you want, ask them to review the decision. 3) If you still don't get what you want, appeal to the information commissioner.

More detail

1) Write to the body (university in this case) asking them for the specific information you want. This can be done by post or email. It is good to say that you would like it under the Freedom of Information Act, but not necessary. You do not have to tell them why you want it if you don't want to, and they should not treat you any differently if you don't.

2) They should get back to you within 20 days. They are likely to do one of 5 things:

a) provide all the information you asked for for free b) issue you with a fee notice c) refuse to issue the information d) not reply e) give you some of the information.

If it is b,c,d or e, the chances are that you are not happy with this. This means that you want to ask them to review their decision. There are circumstances in which they are allowed to charge you, or even refuse the information. They may be within their rights. They may well not be within their rights - public bodies frequently get this wrong, either intentionally, or because they don't know what they are doing. It is possible that the person you are dealing with knows less about this than you do. At this point you may want to check the details of the rule they are using on the website of the information comissioner - for England, Wales and N. Ireland: - for Scotland

3) You have 40 working days to decide if you want to challenge the decision and get back to them. If you do so, they are required to look at the decision again. They then have 20 working days to get back to you, telling you what they have concluded/whether they have changed their decision.

If you are still not happy, (ie. if they still haven't got back to you, you still don't have all the information you want, or they are still charging more than you think they are allowed to) you can appeal to the Information Commissioner. Ring their offices on the numbers below, and they will help you submit your appeal.

The Information Commissioner can be contacted at their office.

In Scotland:

Scottish Information Commissioner, Kinburn Castle, Doubledykes Road, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9DS

Telephone: 01334 464610 Fax: 01334 464611 e-mail:

In England:

The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF tel: 08456 30 60 60

In Wales: Information Commissioner's Office - Wales, Cambrian Buildings, Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff, CF10 5FL telephone: 029 2044 8044 fax: 029 2044 8045 email:

In N. Ireland Information Commissioner's Office - Northern Ireland, Room 101, Regus House, 33 Clarendon Dock, Laganside, Belfast, BT1 3BG, Northern Ireland telephone: 028 9051 1270 fax: 028 9051 1584 email:

For more information, see for England, Wales and N. Ireland, and for Scotland.