Country

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Name of law : Freedom of Information Act
First adopted : 2000

Section Max ScoreScore
Right of Access 6 2
Scope 30 25
Requesting procedures 30 20
Exceptions 30 13
Appeals 30 23
Sanctions 8 7
Promotional measures 16 10
TOTAL 150 100

Right of Access

Indicator

Description

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MAX score
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Article

Comments
1 The legal framework (including jurisprudence) recognises a fundamental right of access to information.Score 0 for no constitutional right to information, 1 point for a limited constitutional right, 2 points for full constitutional recognition of a public right of access to information.2 NO Not mentioned.
2 The legal framework creates a specific presumption in favour of access to all information held by public authorities, subject only to limited exceptions.No=0, Partially=1, Yes=22 YES Jurisprudence (Appeal number: EA/2011/0072) Jurisprudence states:\"information falling within section 42(1) of FOIA must be disclosed unless in all the circumstances of the case the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure\".
3 3.1 The legal framework contains a specific statement of principles calling for a broad interpretation of the RTI law
3.2 The legal framework emphasises the benefits of the right to information?
3.1(Y/N - max 1 point)
3.2 (Y/N - max 1 point)
2 NO Not mentioned




Scope

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4 Everyone (including non-citizens and legal entities) has the right to file requests for information.Score 0 point if only residents/citizens; 1 point for all natural persons; 1 point for legal persons. 2 YES Section 1.1 \"Any person making a request for information to a public General right of access to authority is entitled— information held (a) to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds by public information of the description specified in the request, and authorities. (b) if that is the case, to have that information communicated to him.\" Expert says: Under UK law the term “person” includes individuals and corporate and unincorporated bodies (Interpretation Act, 1889, now incorporated into the Interpretation Act 1978). So the UK FOI Act’s use of the term “person” in fact covers everyone, regardless of citizenship, legal status or country of residence etc.
5 The right of access applies to all material held by or on behalf of public authorities which is recorded in any format, regardless of who produced it.Score 1-3 points if limited definition of information information such as not "internal documents" or databases excluded, 4 points for all information with no exceptions.4 YES Section 84:\"information\" (subject to sections 51(8) and 75(2)) means information recorded in any form;\" One or two minor exclusions that are not enough to take off points.
6 Requesters have a right to access both information and records/documents (i.e. a right both to ask for information and to apply for specific documents).Score 1 point for only documents, 1 point for information2 YES Section 11: \" (1) Where, on making his request for information, the applicant following means, namely— (a) the provision to the applicant of a copy of the information in permanent form or in another form acceptable to the applicant, (b) the provision to the applicant of a reasonable opportunity to inspect a record containing the information, and (c) the provision to the applicant of a digest or summary of the information in permanent form or in another form acceptable to the applicant, the public authority shall so far as reasonably practicable give effect to that preference. (2) In determining for the purposes of this section whether it is reasonably practicable to communicate information by particular means, the public authority may have regard to all the circumstances, including the cost of doing so. (3) Where the public authority determines that it is not reasonably practicable to comply with any preference expressed by the applicant in making his request, the authority shall notify the applicant of the reasons for its determination. (4) Subject to subsection (1), a public authority may comply with a request by communicating information by any means which are reasonable in the circumstances.\"
7 The right of access applies to the executive branch with no bodies or classes of information excluded.This includes executive (cabinet) and adminsitration including all ministries, departments, local government, public schools, public health care bodies, the police, the armed forces, security services, and bodies owned or controlled by the above.Score 4 points for central government agencies covered: 1 for the head of state, 1 for ministries, 1 for other non-statutory agencies created by the ministries, 1 for state and local government if the government is unitary. If it´s a federalist system, 2 points for the non-statutory agencies. This can be determined by examining the length and thoroughness of the list, if such a schedule exists. Score 1 point for the archives. Add three points and deduct 1 for each exempted central agency (such as the armed forces, police, etc).8 Partially Schedule 1 /Section 32: \"(1) Information held by a public authority is exempt information Court records, etc. if it is held only by virtue of being contained in— (a) any document filed with, or otherwise placed in the custody of, a court for the purposes of proceedings in a particular cause or matter, (b) any document served upon, or by, a public authority for the purposes of proceedings in a particular cause or matter, or (c) any document created by— (i) a court, or (ii) a member of the administrative staff of a court, for the purposes of proceedings in a particular cause or matter. <...> (4) In this section— (a) “court” includes any tribunal or body exercising the judicial power of the State, (b) “proceedings in a particular cause or matter” includes any inquest or post-mortem examination, (c) “inquiry” means any inquiry or hearing held under any provision contained in, or made under, an enactment, and (d) except in relation to Scotland, “arbitration” means any arbitration to which Part I of the Arbitration Act 1996 applies.\" Part of the information that handles some particular bodies are excluded from the scope (listed in Part II, \"exempt information\") There is a list with the bodies included under the scope of the Act. Bodies related to security matters are excluded (1 point loss). Expert says: The National Archives is in fact subject to the Act. Its not listed by name in the Act’s Schedule, which I believe is because it is technically a government department. Requests about administrative or financial matters relating to the courts are subject to the Act, including conflicts of interest by judges, disciplinary action taken against judges, guidance issued to the courts, court facilities, etc.
8 The right of access applies to the legislature, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all legislative branch at all levels of government4 YES Section 36. Both Houses of Parliament are subject to the Act.
9 The right of access applies to the judicial branch, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all judicial branch at all levels of government4 Partially Section 32. Administrative matters to do with the courts are subject to the Act.
10 The right of access applies to State-owned enterprises (commercial entities that are owned or controlled by the State). Score 1 point if some, 2 points if all2 YES Section 6. The right of access applies to companies when these are wholly owned by the crown or by any public authority listed in Schedule 1.
11 The right of access applies to other public authorities, including constitutional, statutory and oversight bodies (such as an election commission or information commission/er). Score 1 point if some bodies, 2 points if all2 YES Schedule 1 of the Act. The House of Lords Appointments Commission – which might be regarded as constitutional – is subject to FOI. Oversight bodies such as the Parliamentary Ombudsman, Local Government Ombudsman, Information Commissioner, National Audit Office, Audit Commission etc are also covered.
12 The right of access applies to a) private bodies that perform a public function and b) private bodies that receive significant public funding. 1 point for public functions, 1 point for public funding 2 Partially Section 5: \"(1) The Secretary of State may by order designate as a public authority for the purposes of this Act any person who is neither listed in authorities. Schedule 1 nor capable of being added to that Schedule by an order under section 4(1), but who— (a) appears to the Secretary of State to exercise functions of a public nature, or (b) is providing under a contract made with a public authority any service whose provision is a function of that authority. (2) An order under this section may designate a specified person or office or persons or offices falling within a specified description. (3) Before making an order under this section, the Secretary of State shall consult every person to whom the order relates, or persons appearing to him to represent such persons. (4) This section has effect subject to section 80.\" This article allows the Act to be extended on a case by case basis to private bodies with public functions and to contractors providing services on behalf of public authorities, but this type of bodies are still not included under the scope of the act (1 point loss).

Requesting Procedures

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13 Requesters are not required to provide reasons for their requests.Y/N answer 0 or 2 points2 YES Section 8:\"(1) In this Act any reference to a “request for information” is a reference to such a request which— (a) is in writing,b) states the name of the applicant and an address for correspondence, and (c) describes the information requested. (2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(a), a request is to be treated as made in writing where the text of the request— (a) is transmitted by electronic means, (b) is received in legible form, and (c) is capable of being used for subsequent reference.\" No reasons are asked in order to access to information, only the name, the address and the description of the pretended information.
14 Requesters are only required to provide the details necessary for identifying and delivering the information (i.e. some form of address for delivery).Score Max 2 points and deduct if requesters are required to give any of the following: ID number, telephone number, residential address, etc.2 YES Section 8.2: \"For the purposes of subsection (1)(a), a request is to be treated as made in writing where the text of the request— (a) is transmitted by electronic means, (b) is received in legible form, and (c) is capable of being used for subsequent reference.\" Requesters are asked to describe the requested information, but they are not asked for a reference number or another specific number in order to individualize the information.
15 There are clear and relatively simple procedures for making requests. Requests may be submitted by any means of communication, with no requirement to use official forms or to state that the information is being requested under the access to information law.Max 2 points. Considerations include that there is no requirement to state that the request is under the RTI law, nor to use an official form, nor to identify the document being sought. 2 YES Section 8: \"(1) In this Act any reference to a “request for information” is a reference to such a request which— (a) is in writing,b) states the name of the applicant and an address for correspondence, and (c) describes the information requested. (2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(a), a request is to be treated as made in writing where the text of the request— (a) is transmitted by electronic means, (b) is received in legible form, and (c) is capable of being used for subsequent reference.\" Section 11: \"(1) Where, on making his request for information, the applicant expresses a preference for communication by any one or more of the be made. following means, namely— (a) the provision to the applicant of a copy of the information in permanent form or in another form acceptable to the applicant, (b) the provision to the applicant of a reasonable opportunity to inspect a record containing the information, and (c) the provision to the applicant of a digest or summary of the information in permanent form or in another form acceptable to the applicant, the public authority shall so far as reasonably practicable give e ff ect to that preference. (2) In determining for the purposes of this section whether it is reasonably practicable to communicate information by particular means, the public authority may have regard to all the circumstances, including the cost of doing so. (3) Where the public authority determines that it is not reasonably practicable to comply with any preference expressed by the applicant in making his request, the authority shall notify the applicant of the reasons for its determination. (4) Subject to subsection (1), a public authority may comply with a request by communicating information by any means which are reasonable in the circumstances.\"
16 Public officials are required provide assistance to help requesters formulate their requests, or to contact and assist requesters where requests that have been made are vague, unduly broad or otherwise need clarification. Score 1 point for help in formulation and 1 point for clarification procedures2 YES Section 16: \"(1) It shall be the duty of a public authority to provide advice and assistance,so far as it would be reasonable to expect the authority to do so, to persons who propose to make, or have made, requests for information to it. (2) Any public authority which, in relation to the provision of advice or assistance in any case, conforms with the code of practice under section 45 is to be taken to comply with the duty imposed by subsection (1) in relation to that case.|\" No specific mention about clarification, but it can be inferred by reading the article that it´s included under the scope.
17     Public officials are required to provide assistance to requesters who require it because of special needs, for example because they are illiterate or disabled.Score Yes=2 point, No=02 YES Section 45 (Statutory code of practice issued under Section 45 of the Act). The point is specifically addressed in a statutory code of practice issued under section 45 of the Act.
18 Requesters are provided with a receipt or acknowledgement upon lodging a request within a reasonable timeframe, which should not exceed 5 working daysScore 1 point for receipt, 1 point for max 5 working days2 NO Not mentioned.
19 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for situations where the authority to which a request is directed does not have the requested information. This includes an obligation to inform the requester that the information is not held and to refer the requester to another institution or to transfer the request where the public authority knows where the information is held.Score: 1 point for information not held, 1 for referrals or 2 for transfers2 YES Section 15. Transfers are included under the scope of this article.
20 Public authorities are required to comply with requesters’ preferences regarding how they access information, subject only to clear and limited overrides (e.g. to protect a record).Score: 2 points for Yes, only 1 point if some limitations2 Partially Section 11 and 12. The public authority can refuse to compliance with the requester´s preference if estimates that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit.
21 Public authorities are required to respond to requests as soon as possible.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points 2 YES Section 10.1: \"(1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), a public authority must comply with section 1(1) promptly and in any event not later than the twentieth working day following the date of receipt.\" \"a public authority must comply...promptly\"
22 There are clear and reasonable maximum timelines (20 working days or less) for responding to requests, regardless of the manner of satisfying the request (including through publication).Score: 1 point for timeframes of 20 working days (or 1 month, 30 days or 4 weeks). Score 2 points for 10 working days (or 15 days, or two weeks) or less.2 Partially Section 10.1: \"(1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), a public authority must comply with section 1(1) promptly and in any event not later than the twentieth working day following the date of receipt.\"
23 There are clear limits on timeline extensions (20 working days or less), including a requirement that requesters be notified and provided with the reasons for the extension.---2 Partially Section 17.2: \"(2) Where— (a) in relation to any request for information, a public authority is, as respects any information, relying on a claim— (i) that any provision of Part II which relates to the duty to confirm or deny and is not specified in section 2(3) is relevant to the request, or (ii) that the information is exempt information only by virtue of a provision not specified in section 2(3), and (b) at the time when the notice under subsection (1) is given to the applicant, the public authority (or, in a case falling within section 66(3) or (4), the responsible authority) has not yet reached a decision as to the application of subsection (1)(b) or (2)(b) of section 2, the notice under subsection (1) must indicate that no decision as to the application of that provision has yet been reached and must contain an estimate of the date by which the authority expects that such a decision will have been reached.\" The timeline extensions are not clear. Requesters are required to be told that an extension is being taken and be given an estimate of how long it will be.
24 It is free to file requests.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 YES Section 9; The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004. The fees regulations permit (but do not require) fees to be charged but only for copying, postage or complying with an applicant’s request to put the information into a different form from the one in which it is held. In the almost all cases even these fees are not charged and access is entirely free.
25 There are clear rules relating to access fees, which are set centrally, rather than being determined by individual public authorities. These include a requirement that fees be limited to the cost of reproducing and sending the information (so that inspection of documents and electronic copies are free) and a certain initial number of pages (at least 20) are provided for free. Score 1 point for fees being limited to reproduction and delivery costs and set centrally, 1 point for at least 20 pages free of charge or for fees being optional2 Partially Section 9.3: \"2) Where a fees notice has been given to the applicant, the public authority is not obliged to comply with section 1(1) unless the fee is paid within the period of three months beginning with the day on which the fees notice is given to the applicant.\" Section 13: \"(1) A public authority may charge for the communication of any information whose communication— (a) is notrequired bysection 1(1)because the cost of complying with the request for information exceeds the amount which is the appropriate limit for the purposes of section 12(1) and (2), and (b) is not otherwise required by law, such fee as may be determined by the public authority in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State. (2) Regulations under this section may, in particular, provide— (a) that any fee is not to exceed such maximum as may be specified in, or determined in accordance with, the regulations, and (b) that any fee is to be calculated in such manner as may be prescribed by the regulations. (3) Subsection (1) does not apply where provision is made by or under any enactment as to the fee that may be charged by the public authority for the disclosure of the information.\" Fees are set centrally by the Secretary of State. There are some cases that this fee is not payable, but are not mentioned and there is a photocopying charge (1 point loss).
26   There are fee waivers for impecunious requesters ---2 NO Not mentioned.
27 There are no limitations on or charges for reuse of information received from public bodies, except where a third party (which is not a public authority) holds a legally-protected copyright over the information. Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 NO The Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005, Section 5 (about Exclusions). There are charges on Re-use for some datasets an there is copyright (no points).


Exceptions

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28 The standards in the RTI Law trump restrictions on information disclosure (secrecy provisions) in other legislation to the extent of any conflict.Score 4 points for a resounding "yes" and 1/2/3 points if only for some classes of information or for some exceptions. If the state secrets law is not trumped by the RTI law max score is 2 points. 4 NO Section 44: \"(1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure (otherwise than under this Act) by the public authority holding it— (a) is prohibited by or under any enactment, (b) is incompatible with any Community obligation, or (c) would constitute or be punishable as a contempt of court. (2) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if the confirmation or denial that would have to be given to comply with section 1(1)(a) would (apart from this Act) fall within any of paragraphs (a) to (c) of subsection (1).\"
29 The exceptions to the right of access are consistent with international standards. Permissible exceptions are: national security; international relations; public health and safety; the prevention, investigation and prosecution of legal wrongs; privacy; legitimate commercial and other economic interests; management of the economy; fair administration of justice and legal advice privilege; conservation of the environment; and legitimate policy making and other operations of public authorities. It is also permissible to refer requesters to information which is already publicly available, for example online or in published form.Score 10 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which either (a) falls outside of this list and/or (b) is more broadly framed10 Partially Part II, Sections 21 to 44. Article 23 related to the bodies which deals with security matters does not fit with any of the exceptions listed and under my opinion, is intended to be misused in order to protect all kind of information relating the security of the state. I consider that this provision is more broadly framed. Article 28, that excludes the relations between the administrations in the UK, under my consideration, falls outside of the list. Article 34 about Parliamentary privilege, falls outside the list too. Article 36, about Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs, is more broadly framed.
30 A harm test applies to all exceptions, so that it is only where disclosure poses a risk of actual harm to a protected interest that it may be refused. Score 4 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which is not subject to the harm test 4 NO A number of the exceptions have a harm test whereby information should not be disclosed if it would prejudice the protected interest: National Security, Defence, International Relations, UK Relations, Economy, Law Enforcement, Audit, Conduct of public affairs, Health and Safety, and Commercial Interests. There are, however, a number of other absolute exceptions: Security, Investigations, Parliamentary Privilege, Formulation of government policy, Personal data, information received in confidence, legal privilege, and trade secrets. Hence 3 points have been deducted.
31 There is a mandatory public interest override so that information must be disclosed where this is in the overall public interest, even if this may harm a protected interest. There are ‘hard’ overrides (which apply absolutely), for example for information about human rights, corruption or crimes against humanity.Consider whether the override is subject to overarching limitations, whether it applies to only some exceptions, and whether it is mandatory.4 Partially Part II, Sections 21 to 44. The public interest only applies to some of the exceptions listed (Sections 26; 27; 28; 29; 31; 36; 38). 3 points were deducted.
32 Information must be released as soon as an exception ceases to apply (for example, for after a contract tender process decision has been taken). The law contains a clause stating that exceptions to protect public interests do not apply to information which is over 20 years old.Score 1 point for each2 Partially Section 63: \"(1) Information contained in a historical record cannot be exempt information by virtue of section28,30(1),32,33, 35,36,37(1)(a),42 or43. (2) Compliance with section 1(1)(a) in relation to a historical record is not to be taken to be capable of having any of the e ff ects referred to in section 28(3), 33(3), 36(3), 42(2) or 43(3). (3) Information cannot be exempt information by virtue of section 37(1)(b) after the end of the period of sixty years beginning with the year following that in which the record containing the information was created. (4) Information cannot be exempt information by virtue of section 31 after the end of the period of one hundred years beginning with the year following that in which the record containing the information was created. (5) Compliance with section 1(1)(a) in relation to any record is not to be taken, at any time after the end of the period of one hundred years beginning with the year following that in which the record was created, to be capable of prejudicingany ofthe matters referred to insection31(1).\" In the UK some material over 20 years old can be refused (1 point loss).
33 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for consulting with third parties who provided information which is the subject of a request on a confidential basis. Public authorities shall take into account any objections by third parties when considering requests for information, but third parties do not have veto power over the release of information.Score: 1 point for consultation, 1 further point if original time frames must be respected and the law allows for expedited appeals.2 YES Section 45 (Statutory code of practice issued under Section 45 of the Act, Part IV, Consultation with third parties) Its also well established under guidance and case law that third parties who are consulted have no right of veto over disclosure.
34 There is a severability clause so that where only part of a record is covered by an exception the remainder must be disclosed. Score 1 point if yes but sometimes can be refused (eg: if deletions render meaningless the document) and 2 points if partial access must always be granted2 NO No severability clause included in the Act.
35 When refusing to provide access to information, public authorities must a) state the exact legal grounds and reason(s) for the refusal and b) inform the applicant of the relevant appeals procedures.Score Y/N: 1 point for a and 1 point for b2 YES Section 17, Section 1 and 7.


Appeals

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36 The law offers an internal appeal which is simple, free of charge and completed within clear timelines (20 working days or less).Score 2 points if the internal appeal fulfills these criteria, 1 point if an appeal is offered that does not fulfill this criteria, 0 for no internal appeals.2 YES Section 45 (Statutory code of practice issued under Section 45 of the Act, Complaints Procedure, Articles 36-46) The internal appeals process is simple and free of charge. There is no statutory time limit (because it is not mandatory) but the IC recommends 20 working days for this stage, with no case taking more than 40 working days.
37 Requesters have the right to lodge an (external) appeal with an independent administrative oversight body (e.g. an information commission or ombudsman). 1 for partial, 2 for yes2 YES Section 50.
38 The member(s) of the oversight body are appointed in a manner that is protected against political interference and have security of tenure so they are protected against arbitrary dismissal (procedurally/substantively) once appointed.Score: 1 point for appointment procedure, 1 point for security of tenure2 Partially Section 18. Strictly speaking it’s not independent because it’s the Queen that appoints; we grant 1 point for security of tenure.
39 The oversight body reports to and has its budget approved by the parliament, or other effective mechanisms are in place to protect its financial independence.Score 1 point for reports to parliament, 1 point for budget approved by parliament2 Partially Section 85: \"There shall be paid out of money provided by Parliament— (a) any increase attributable to this Act in the expenses of the Secretary of State in respect of the Commissioner, the Tribunal or the members of the Tribunal, (b) any administrative expenses of the Secretary of State attributable to this Act, (c) any other expenses incurred in consequence of this Act by a Minister of the Crown or government department or by either House of Parliament, and (d) any increase attributable to this Act in the sums which under any other Act are payable out of money so provided.\" The Parliament will pay \"any increase attributable to this Act in the expenses of the Secretary of State in respect of the Commissioner, the Tribunal or the members of the Tribunal\"
40 There are prohibitions on individuals with strong political connections from being appointed to this body and requirements of professional expertise.Score 1 point for not politically connected, 1 point for professional expertise2 NO Not mentioned.
41 The independent oversight body has the necessary mandate and power to perform its functions, including to review classified documents and inspect the premises of public bodies.Score 1 point for reviewing classified documents, 1 point for inspection powers2 YES Section 55: \"Schedule 3 (powers of entry and inspection) has effect.\" and the entire Schedule 3. The inspection must be authorized by a judge (District or form the Magistrate´s Court).
42 The decisions of the independent oversight body are binding. Score N=0, Y=2 points2 YES Section 50 and 54. Section 50 of the Act gives the Information Commissioner power to issue a decision notice specifying the steps that an authority which has failed to comply with the Act must take.
43 In deciding an appeal, the independent oversight body has the power to order appropriate remedies for the requester, including the declassification of information. 1 for partial, 2 for fully2 YES Section 50 /Section 60. Add reviewer comments.
44 Requesters have the right to lodge a judicial appeal.1 for partially, 2 for fully.2 YES Section 57: \"(1) Where a decision notice has been served, the complainant or the public authority may appeal to the Tribunal against the notice. (2) A public authority on which an information notice or an enforcement notice has been served by the Commissioner may appeal to the Tribunal against the notice. (3) In relation to a decision notice or enforcement notice which relates— (a) to information to which section 66 applies, and (b) to a matter which by virtueof subsection (3) or (4) of that section falls to be determinedbythe responsibleauthorityinstead of the appropriate records authority, subsections (1) and (2) shall have e ff ect as if the reference to the public authority were a reference to the public authority or the responsible authority.\" Either the complainant or the public authority may appeal to the Tribunal.
45 Appeals to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are free of charge and do not require legal assistance.1 for free, 1 for no lawyer required. 2 YES Expert says: Under English law, an individual can always represent himself in legal proceedings without a lawyer – in anything from a Tribunal case to the Supreme Court. Since there is no power to charge for appeals in the FOIA, both internal and external appeals must be free – and are free.
46 The grounds for appeal to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are broad (including not only refusals to provide information but also refusals to provide information in the form requested, administrative silence and other breach of timelines, charging excessive fees, etc.).Score 1 point for appealing refusals, additional points for appealing other violations.4 Partially Section 50. Expert says: Any failure to comply with any requirement of Part 1 of the Act can be appealed against including delay, fees, non-answer, refusal, failure to give proper reasons for a decision, failure to provide advice and assistance, failure to comply with the requester’s preferred format etc.
47 Clear procedures, including timelines, are in place for dealing with external appeals (oversight/judicial).Score 1 point for clear procedures, 1 point for timelines. 2 Partially Sections 50 and 51. Timelines are not clearly specified.
48 In the appeal process (oversight/judicial/) the government bears the burden of demonstrating that it did not operate in breach of the rules.Score Y/N and award 2 points for yes. 2 YES Tribunal decision EA/2006/0007, paragraph 54. The decision provides: “reference has been made above to the undoubted fact that it is the public authority which bears the onus of showing that the exemption should be maintained.”
49 The external appellate body has the power to impose appropriate structural measures on the public authority (e.g. to conduct more training or to engage in better record management)1 for partial, 2 for fully. 2 YES Sections 48 and 50. When the Commissioner considers that the practice of a public authority in relation to the exercise of its functions under this Act does not conform with that proposed in the codes he may give to the authority a recommendation.


Sanctions & Proteccions

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50 Sanctions may be imposed on those who wilfully act to undermine the right to information, including through the unauthorised destruction of information.Score 1 point for sanctions for underming right, 1 point for destruction of documents 2 YES Section 77.
51 There is a system for redressing the problem of public authorities which systematically fail to disclose information or underperform (either through imposing sanctions on them or requiring remedial actions of them).Score 1 point for either remedial action or sanctions, 2 points for both 2 YES Section 48 and 52.
52 The independent oversight body and its staff are granted legal immunity for acts undertaken in good faith in the exercise or performance of any power, duty or function under the RTI Law. Others are granted similar immunity for the good faith release of information pursuant to the RTI Law.Score 1 for oversight body, 1 for immunity for others2 Partially Section 79: \"Where any information communicated by a public authority to a person (“the applicant”) under section 1 was supplied to the public authority by a third person, the publication to the applicant of any defamatory matter contained in theinformation shall be privileged unless the publication is shown to have been made with malice.\" This Section protects third parties from defamation if information which they have supplied to a public authority is released under FOI.
53 There are legal protections against imposing sanctions on those who, in good faith, release information which discloses wrongdoing (i.e. whistleblowers).Score 2 for strong protections, 1 for moderate protections2 YES Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. This protects employees who in good faith disclose information which they reasonably believe indicates that wrongdoing is taking place, or is being deliberately concealed.


Promotional measures

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MAX score
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54 Public authorities are required to appoint dedicated officials (information officers) or units with a responsibility for ensuring that they comply with their information disclosure obligations.Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Not specifically mentioned.
55 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, is given overall responsibility for promoting the right to information. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Section 47.
56 Public awareness-raising efforts (e.g. producing a guide for the public or introducing RTI awareness into schools) are required to be undertaken by law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Sections 19, 20 and 45. A code of practice shall be issued in order to provide guidance to public authorities as to the practice that is considered as desirable.
57 A system is in place whereby minimum standards regarding the management of records are set and applied. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Lord Chancellor’s Code of Practice on the management of records issued under section 46 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
58 Public authorities are required to create and update lists or registers of the documents in their possession, and to make these public. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Section 19.
59 Training programs for officials are required Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.
60 Public authorities are required to report annually on the actions they have taken to implement their disclosure obligations. This includes statistics on requests received and how they were dealt with. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.
61 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, has an obligation to present a consolidated report to the legislature on implementation of the law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Section 49. Expert says:There is no legal obligation to report in this way. However, since before 2005 the government has published an annual report on the operation of the Act in central government, including request statistics. It also publishes quarterly statistics for all central government bodies.