ICO's blog on its information rights work

24 Feb 2021 10:51 AM

Colleagues from the ICO’s FOI Directorate share their experiences and involvement in raising awareness of our regulation of access to information legislation.

Supporting you to meet your information access requests

Our aim at the ICO is to ensure organisations provide the public with timely access to information. We speak regularly about supporting you to meet your requirements, and we’ve published two new products to help you achieve that goal.

We’ve added another topic to our FOI toolkit, which we launched last year. The new topic allows you to self-assess your performance when you refuse requests because they exceed the appropriate cost limit. You can complete the topic in stages or in full, and will receive a report showing an overall rating, action plan and helpful web links to relevant guidance. We know the toolkit is proving its worth, and feedback has been positive. We hope this next topic will provide practical support that will lead to improvements.

The toolkit is part of our ongoing work to support public authorities, particularly through the current challenges brought by the pandemic. As we set out in our regulatory approach, we continue to have a pragmatic approach, recognising the importance of transparency, and also the potential impact on public authorities’ timelines in supplying information. We will continue to take a pragmatic approach to resolving complaints, and would encourage any authorities facing challenges to stay in contact with us.

At the same time, we’ve published top tips for dealing with information access requests. The quick reference guide came about during engagement work carried out with the London Boroughs, where we sought to gain an understanding of compliance rates. During the process examples of good practice were identified and these form the basis of the guide. Born out of our London Boroughs work, the tips can be used across all organisations dealing with information access requests.

We hope our resources prove useful and we’ll continue to develop tools to help our information access colleagues in achieving their obligations.

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