Freedom of information

freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) came into operation in 2000. It grants you the right to request to see information held by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Any person of any nationality has the right to request access to information held by us. You can request information of any age and for any purpose. All recorded information held by the FCO is covered by the FOIA. This includes emails, personal notebooks, CCTV footage, miscellaneous collections of papers, as well as registered paper and electronic files.

The FOIA covers all public bodies, from central government departments to local authorities. It also applies to schools and doctors' surgeries. You can find more information about the FOIA at  and . 

We maintain a separate website (which will shortly be launched) to deal with all aspects of FOI. On our FOI website you will find information on our:

Publication scheme

As well as responding to requests for information, the FOIA also requires us to be proactive in the release of official information. Our Publication Scheme tells you how to get information that we already routinely make available.

Released documents

The material featured in this section has been released by the FCO in response to requests under the FOIA. Any information that is considered to be of interest to the public is published on this website.

Requesting information

If you would like to get information held by the FCO, please firstly check our website to see if we have already published the information. If the information you want is not already available, please then send your request to:

Information Rights Team
Information Management Group
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Old Admiralty Building
Tel: + 44 (020) 7008 0123

Your request must be in writing. This includes emails as well as letters. Your request should include:

  • details of the information you would like to see (please be as precise as you can), and
  • your name and postal address

The Freedom of Information Act is 'purpose blind'. This means that we will not ask you why you want the information when you request it.

We will reply to your request within 20 working days. In our reply to your request will confirm or deny whether we hold the information you have requested, and either provide the information you have requested, or explain why we have not provided it. For any information we withhold, we will quote an exemption under the Act.

If you are not satisfied with the information you have received or our response to your request, you can ask us to conduct an internal review of our decision. If you are still not satisfied after we have conducted an internal review, you may ask the Information Commissioner to take up your complaint. Please visit for more information.

Our FOI website

We will be publishing our new FOI website shortly. In the interim please contact the Information rights team.

See Also

Useful Links