Information Commissioner's Office
ICO's blog on its information rights work
Colleagues from the ICO’s FOI Directorate share their experiences and involvement in raising awareness of our regulation of access to information legislation.
Government records communicated through private accounts have always been subject to FOI laws – 4 November 2021
The pandemic placed real and understandable pressures on ways of working across the public sector. Many public servants were forced to work from home, using at times unfamiliar technology, while still working at pace and under immense pressure. At the same time, decisions were being made that reached into all aspects of people’s lives and affected their most basic rights, including whether they could see their friends and family.
The key to the public’s understanding and trust in these decisions was, and remains, transparency about how and why they were needed. Furthermore, it is only through documenting decisions in detail that we can learn the right lessons for the future.
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act has always been clear: relevant information that exists in the private correspondence channels of public authorities should be available and included in responses to information requests the authority receives.
We’ve recently updated our FOI guidance on official information held in private communication channels. The update reflects the practical realities of some of the changes in our ways of working that have occurred since the guidance was first published in 2013. It now explicitly covers not just private emails, but clarifies that conversations over WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or other private channels have also always been covered by FOI when they are used for official business.
The UK Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, has authored an article in the Municipal Journal on this topic. You can read the full article on their website.
Latest News from
Information Commissioner's Office
Blog: What does equality of access really mean when developing a career with a visual impairment?19/05/2022 12:25:00
On Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Paul Arnold, ICO Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer shares his story.
Blog: A day in the life of the ICO’s information management team13/05/2022 12:25:00
“It’s important to remember the people behind the information.”
ICO response to Channel 4 ‘Inside the Metaverse’ documentary29/04/2022 12:25:00
A recent C4 Dispatches – Inside the Metaverse looked at the metaverse and how the platforms enforce against users that act inappropriately.
Conclusion of ICO investigation into unauthorised disclosure of CCTV footage from DHSC – 19 April 202220/04/2022 12:25:00
The ICO found insufficient evidence to prosecute two people suspected of unlawfully obtaining and disclosing CCTV footage from the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC).
Statement following conclusion of ICO investigation into unauthorised disclosure of CCTV footage from DHSC13/04/2022 16:20:00
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has found insufficient evidence to prosecute two people suspected of unlawfully obtaining and disclosing CCTV footage from the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC).
Children's privacy and international collaboration12/04/2022 15:20:00
John Edwards, UK Information Commissioner, is in Washington DC this week to meet with regulators, civil society, lawmakers and tech companies, as well as present the work of the ICO at the IAPP Global Privacy Summit.
Blog: Why protecting children online in UK living rooms starts 5,000 miles away12/04/2022 09:10:00
Blog posted by: John Edwards, UK Information Commissioner, 11 April 2022.
Statement in response to open Democracy's letter08/04/2022 12:25:00
openDemocracy has issued an open letter about the Freedom of Information Act.
John Edwards article in Civil Service World – 5 April 202207/04/2022 12:25:00
Civil Service World have published an article by John Edwards, in which he discusses what he’s learned so far from his listening tour, and offers reassurance about the service that the ICO is looking to give to people and businesses.