Freedom of Information
About The Act
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 aims to ensure open government. It gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities and sets out exemptions from that right.
The FOI Act places two main duties on all public authorities:
- to adopt and maintain a publication scheme setting out the classes of information which the authority publishes and how it intends to publish the information,
- to respond to individual requests for information under the general right of access to information, from January 2005
Individuals already have the right of access to information about themselves under the Data Protection Act 1988. As far as public authorities are concerned, the FOI Act extends this right to allow public access to all types of information held. The FOI Act and the Data Protection Act are enforced by the Information Commissioner.
Making a request for information under the general right of access to information
Requests for information must:
- Be made in writing (for example, letter, fax or email)
- State your name and the address for correspondence and
- Describe clearly the information requested
It is important that you provide as much detail as possible about the information you request. If we are unable to determine what information you want, we will contact you requesting further details.
Under FOI, any information held by a public authority is eligible for release. However, a number of exemptions may be applied to protect information which should be properly kept confidential.
On receipt of your request we will assess the request to determine whether we hold the information requested. If we do so, we will gather the information requested and determine if any of the information should be withheld using the exemptions in the Act. We will then communicate the information to you if no exemptions are applicable (or if we decide to waive exemptions which do apply). If an exemption applies to information you have requested, you will be notified of the reasons and the exemption(s) applying.
We may also contact third parties who have an interest in the information during this process. If we do not hold any of the information requested, or if we hold some of it but not all of it, we may transfer the request to the appropriate body (for example, where the information is held by a member of the GLA Group), or respond to you advising that the information may be held by another body and providing contact details for that body.
For most requests, the GLA will have 20 working days following the receipt of your application to deal with the request. We aim to respond to requests as soon as possible. If your request is unclear, we will contact you to clarify the information requested. If we have asked you to supply further details about your request, your request will not be processed until we receive the further details.
Your request can be emailed, faxed or posted to:
The Public Liaison Unit
Greater London Authority
The Queen's Walk
London SE1 2AA
Telephone: 020 7983 4100
Minicom: 020 7983 4458
Fax: 020 7983 4057
For information contained in the GLA Publication Scheme, the scheme also gives details of whether there is a charge for providing the information. Details of charges for priced publications are included on the GLA publications list on the GLA website.
If you are requesting information not contained within the Publication Scheme, the FOI Act fees regulations apply. The right to access information needs to be balanced by the need of public authorities to carry out their core duties, and the fees regulations therefore allow for public authorities to decline to comply with certain requests for information on the grounds of cost where these would exceed the limit specified in the regulations.
Where the cost of answering a request, as calculated according to the fees regulations, is less than £450 (which equates to about two and half days of time spent locating the information requested), the GLA will provide the information requested; there may be charges to cover costs of postage, printing, photocopying and providing the information in a specified format. Where the cost of answering a request, as calculated according to the fees regulations, would be more than £450, the GLA will not normally provide the information requested.
Where it is necessary for us to charge, we will inform you in writing. Your request will not be processed further until we have received the amount requested.
Accessibility of information
The GLA aims to make the information that it publishes as widely accessible as possible.
Details of the steps taken to ensure the accessibility of documents are contained in the GLA’s Accessible Communications Policy.
All GLA produced material is the copyright of the Greater London Authority unless stated otherwise, and usual copyright restrictions apply. Under copyright, if any person uses GLA copyright material the source of the material must be quoted and its copyright status acknowledged. Material produced by any other organisation is the copyright of the organisation which produced it, unless stated otherwise.
What to do if you are unhappy with the response to your request for information
If you are unhappy with our decision regarding your request for information application, you should in the first instance raise this with us using the GLA Comments and Complaints procedure.
If you are still unhappy on completion of this process, you can apply for a decision from the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner will determine if the request was dealt with in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. The Information Commissioner’s contact details are:
Cheshire SK9 5AF