About the ICO

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Our roles, our responsibilities, our views

The ICO is the UK's independent public body set up to promote access to official information and protect personal information by promoting good practice, ruling on eligible complaints, providing information to individuals and organisations, and taking appropriate action when the law is broken. You can find out more about us in this section.


Who we are

The ICO is the UK's independent public body set up to promote access to official information and protect personal information. The Ministry of Justice is our sponsoring department within the Government.

Regional offices

The ICO’s three regional offices were established in 2003 as a direct response to the devolution process in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The offices enable us to provide relevant services where the legislation or administrative structure is different as a result.

What we do

The ICO enforces and oversees the Data Protection Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Environmental Information Regulations, and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. 

Our main functions are educating and influencing (we promote good practice and give information and advice), resolving problems (we resolve eligible complaints from people who think their rights have been breached) and enforcing (we use legal sanctions against those who ignore or refuse to accept their obligations).


Looking after your rights and making sure organisations comply with the law is only part of what we do. We also commission research to provide us with a deeper understanding of data protection and freedom of information, and how they affect you.

The research may not reflect the ICO’s views or policies (and we cannot guarantee its accuracy), but is intended to help us understand the nature and range of matters we may need to address and it may inform our decision making. It may also be used to help us create relevant policy, guidance and information to address current issues of concern.

News and views

Our thoughts on current topics and policies are a vital part of our role. Our press releases cover a wide range of subjects, and we also offer our views on the latest development in data protection and freedom of information.


As part of the ICO's work, we comment on significant external consultations that relate to data protection and freedom of information. We also invite comments about significant documents we produce about our work.


If you work for us, you'll have more than just a job. You'll be part of a team of people who are genuinely committed to making a difference. And you'll also enjoy a great range of benefits and opportunities.

Other languages

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) provides information in French and Spanish that it considers to be particularly relevant to an international audience.

Please be aware that the information contained on these French and Spanish language pages are not a complete translation of the information and guidance we offer in English. It contains details which we consider to be of particular interest to an international audience.

The ICO also provides more extensive information in Welsh. Further details about the type of information we provide in Welsh can be found in our Welsh Language Scheme.

The ICO will make its information available to all sections of the community. If there is any reason why people can’t receive, or don’t understand information in the way we have initially presented it, then, as far as we are able, we will consider alternatives. For more details, read our Translations Policy.

Also of interest

  • What the ICO covers

    From data protection and electronic communications to freedom of information and environmental regulations.