The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) was passed on 30 November 2000. The Act gives a general right of access to all types of 'recorded' information held by the network. It sets out exemptions from that right and places a number of obligations on the network. The Act came into force in January 2005.
People already have the right to access information held about themselves under the Data Protection Act 1998. This is known as 'subject access' request. The FOIA extends these rights to allow people to request access to non-personal information held by the network. However the network will not be required to release information to which an exemption applies, i.e. information may not be released if it would prejudice national security or law enforcement. The Act gives applicants two related rights:
The right to be told whether the information exists
The right to receive the information
The Act places a duty on the network to adopt and maintain a publication scheme approved by the Information Commissioner. The scheme sets out the type of information the Trust publishes, the form of information published, and explains any charges that may apply.