What are the exemptions to providing information under FOI?
The legislation contains a number of circumstances in which public authorities are not obliged to provide access to information. They include:
- Information about yourself (this may be covered by the Data Protection Act - see our pages on data protection
- Information provided to us in confidence
- Commercially sensitive information
- Information that is readily accessible by other means, i.e. if we already publish that information (please see our publication scheme pages)
- If the cost of locating or extracting the information is estimated to exceed an “appropriate limit”. This has been set at £450, or 18 hours of staff time at the rate of £25 per hour.
- If anyone repeatedly asks for the same or very similar information (this is known as “vexatious”)
Public interest test
Many exemptions are subject to a public interest test. This means that before we can withhold the information we have to determine that withholding the information outweighs the public interest in releasing it.
Further information about the public interest test can be obtained from the Information Commissioners website.
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Associated Subjects: Freedom of Information
Associated Roles: General Interest
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