Freedom of information act 200 (Stakeholders (Local authorities ,…
Freedom of information act 200
Hospitals, dentists, opticians & other medical practices
State schools, colleges & universities
Police forces and prison services
What does it do?
The Freedom of Information Act gives individuals and organisations the right to request official information held by over 100,000 public bodies.
News reporters are able to gather indepth and accurate information about a story that they might be investigating. They often identify issues in the news that we would previously have had no idea about.
If a development or change is being planned to your local area e.g. a proposed new airport or housing development, you can find out all of the information that is available. In the past, you would have only known what the authorities had chosen to make public. Having the full facts can enable you to make a decision as to the benefit/issues that the proposed changes might make to you.
If people have an interest in a particular area they are able to request information that was not previously available to the public.
Many people used to believe in conspiracy theories and that information was being withheld or hidden from us. This Act has led to a much more open society where people can feel confident that they know things aren't being hidden.
There can be a large cost to public bodies. Staff have to be paid to respond to requests from the public and to find the requested information.
If a business has a contract with a public body then details of that contract and business terms can be made publically available. This can give an unfair advantage to other firms who plan on tendering for a new contract.
Many requests under the FOI Act are made simply out of curiosity or to cause an annoyance. This causes an increased workload on public organisations and the extra financial implications discussed above.
Organisations have to maintain a large archive of information. People can request information created before the Act was passed and organisations are now obliged to provide that information.
If the information affects national security
If the request is designed to cause disruption
Cost of supplying information exceeds an appropriate limit
If a similar request has been made in the past