Department for Culture Media and Sport
how to request information
What is an FoI request?
Any written request for information held by DCMS is a Freedom of Information request.
However, environmental information and subject access requests (Note: subject access is the right of individuals to have access to the data about them and other related information) are exempt under the FoI Act as these kinds of information have their own access regimes. If your request relates to environmental information it will be handled under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. If you are seeking information about yourself that is held by the Department, you should make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act 1998.
Please see the 'Which act do I use to access information flowchart' PDF (13kb) to see which Act is used to access information.
Who can request information?
Anyone can request information under the Act regardless of age, nationality or location.
What information am I entitled to?
You are entitled to be told whether we hold the information you have requested. This is sometimes referred to as the duty to "confirm or deny". If we do hold it, you are entitled to have the information communicated to you. However, there are some exemptions to these rights (See also 'What happens if my request is refused or I am unhappy with the response?').
The Act is fully retrospective and any information recorded in any form which is held by the Department is eligible for release, subject to the exemptions.
How do I make a request?
The Act requires that all requests:
- Are in writing
- State the name of the applicant and an address for correspondence
- Describe what information is required
All requests should sent to the following address:
Department for Culture Media & Sport
2-4 Cockspur Street
London SW1Y 5DH
Or Complete the Online Form
What happens when I make a request?
When we receive a request for information, we will respond as soon as possible, and generally no later than 20 working days from the date of the request. We may not be able to reply to you within 20 working days if the Department is considering whether exemptions apply,. In such a case we will write to you within 20 days to tell you when we estimate we will be able to provide a final response to your request.
If we are unclear from your initial request what information you are asking for, we will contact you for clarification.
If your request is very wide and appears to be outside the "appropriate limit" we may contact you to see if you can be more specific about what you are seeking. This may enable us to answer your request within the "appropriate limit".
What if another public authority holds this information?
If the Department believes that another public body holds this information, we will do one of the following:
Inform you that another public authority may hold the information and provide you with the contact details: or
If the Department is sure which public authority holds the relevant information, transfer the request to them
What does it cost?
DCMS's policy is not to charge for providing information where to do so costs less than the "appropriate limit" [Note: The "appropriate limit" means such amount as may be set by the regulations], which is currently £600.
Where the cost of providing information would exceed £600, DCMS will generally not provide the information. However, the Department may be able to provide some of the information requested if it can be supplied within the "appropriate limit".
What happens if my request is refused or I am unhappy with the response?
You are entitled to ask for an internal review of the department's decision.
If your request is refused, or if information is excluded from release, we will reply explaining why, identifying which exemption(s) have been applied, where appropriate. This letter will also give details of how to ask for an internal review of the decision.
If, after the internal review, you remain dissatisfied, you can complain to the Information Commissioner and ask for a review the decision.
How many requests am I permitted?
The Act does not specifically limit the number of requests you can make. However, the Act allows a public authority the right to refuse any vexatious or repeated requests. The department may also take into account the number of requests received from an individual when considering whether the "appropriate limit" has been reached.
Can I specify the form in which I receive the information?
Yes, you may ask for a copy of the information in permanent form, for the opportunity to inspect a record containing the information, or for a summary of the information. We will comply with your request as far as it is reasonably practicable to do so. One of the factors we will consider when deciding what is reasonably practicable, is the cost of providing the information in the form requested.
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