Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act came into effect on 21st April, 1998 and was amended on 11 April 2003. The Act gives the public:

  • The right to access official records held by the Government Departments and certain public bodies.
  • The right to have personal information amended where such information is incomplete, incorrect or misleading.
  • The right to be given reasons for decisions taken by public bodies that effect them.
  • These rights mean that from 21st October 1998, members of the public may seek access to personal information held on them, no matter when the information was created, subject to its availability.

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.