What Is The Freedom Of Information Act 2000?


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The Freedom of information Act 2000, which actually came into force around five years after it was passed, gives citizens of England, Wales and Northern Ireland (there is a different Act of Parliament for Scotland) the right to request information not already available in the public domain from a wide range of public bodies. The public can, therefore, write to a public body as defined in the Act and request any documents, statistics and other information from any date(s).

The organisation then has 20 working days in which it must reply to the request, either releasing the information requested or giving a legitimate reason for the withholding of the information as stipulated under the Act. There are various reasons why a public body can refuse to release the information asked for. The fact that it is to do with the formulation of government policy or that the request is too big and will cost too much, are just two exemptions under the legislation.

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