The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) gives the public the right of access to information held by public authorities and requires public authorities to make this information available. The intention of the Act is to increase visibility into the work of public bodies, to ensure that policymaking processes are fair, democratic and open.
The FOI Act requires all public authorities to produce a publication scheme that specifies the classes of information which the public authority publishes or intends to publish. To comply with the FOIA, the publication scheme sets out:
In May 2008 the ICO issued guidance on new model publication schemes, which public authorities were being encouraged to adopt from 1 January 2009. The Department has adopted the relevant model scheme.
The classes of information defined in the new guidance are:
Information on these categories (and much more besides) is already published on the Department's website. You can use the following methods to search for information we already publish:
In addition, the transparency page gives information about ministerial meetings; data underlying statistical releases; hospitality; expenses; travel; spending; energy consumption and much more. And in the About the Department section you will find organisational details; annual reports; business plans and consultations.
If you cannot find the information you are searching for or wish to make a FOI request, contact the Public Communications Unit.
The FOI disclosure log is a selective log of information provided by the Department in response to requests for information since the FOI Act came into full force on 1 January 2005. The log is divided into topics. Each response consists of a summary of the request, the information provided in response and the date on which the information was disclosed.
The Information Commissioner's Office provides information about The Data Protection Act, which requires those who handle personal information to comply with regulations. It also gives individuals rights over their personal information.
To request information under the FOI Act please visit our 'contact us' page and select FOI request.