The Freedom of Information Act 2014 gives each individual legal rights to access both personal and non-personal (corporate) records, to have personal records amended or deleted where the information is incorrect or misleading and the right to seek reasons for decisions that affect him/her.
These rights extend to your own personal records and in specific circumstances, to those of your children and deceased relatives. There are exemptions provided for in the Acts, this means that there are specific circumstances when the requested information will not be released, e.g. to protect confidentiality. If any of these exemptions are used to withhold information, the reasons will be clearly explained to you.
How does it work?
A person does not have to give a reason as to why they want to see any records. The Government Department or Body must give an explanation if a request is being refused or partially refused. A decision on an application must normally be made within 4 weeks. The public can request the following records held by Government Departments or certain public bodies:
- any records relating to a person personally, whenever created;
- all other records created after 21 April, 1998;
Note: A "record" can be a paper document, information held on computer, printouts, maps, plans, microfilm, micrfiche, audio-visual material, etc.