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Acas and Freedom of Information

What is the Freedom of Information Act?

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 came into force on 1 January 2005. The Act gives the right to anyone, anywhere in the world, to request copies of any recorded information from a public authority including Acas.

Individuals already have the right of access to information about themselves under the Data Protection Act 1998. The Freedom of Information Act extends this right to allow the public to request access to all other types of recorded information held.

The purpose of the Freedom of Information Act is to give the public greater access to information about the workings of government and public bodies. It is to make public bodies accountable to the public and enable transparency in the operation of public bodies.

When did the Act come into force?

The Freedom of Information Act came into force on 1 January 2005.

Does the Act only apply to records created from 1 January 2005?

No. The Freedom of Information Act is fully retrospective which means it applies to all recorded information not just information created after 1 January 2005.

What new rights does the Act create?

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives two related rights:

  • the right to be told whether the information exists
  • the right to receive the information.

Acas will endeavour to comply with all requests for copies of recorded information made under the Freedom of Information Act, within the stipulated 20 working days, subject to exemptions applying under the Act.

Acas like all public organisations have an obligation under the FOIA to routinely publish information on a Publication Scheme (Section 19 FOIA). The purpose of the scheme is to ensure a significant amount of information is available, without the need for a specific request.  Schemes are intended to encourage organisations to publish more information pro-actively and to develop a greater culture of openness.

In common with all other public bodies, Acas publishes a list of all requests and responses on its Disclosure Log which is posted in the Acas Publication Scheme under 'Lists and Registers'.

Acas Publication Scheme

Under Section 19 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, public authorities are required to produce a Publication Scheme. The Information Commissioner has specified categories of information (Information Classes) and guidance as to what type of information should be published on the scheme. This is entitled the Model Publication Scheme.

The Acas Publication Scheme has been designed in relation to the Information Commissioner's Model Scheme and highlights information and publications currently available from Acas. All information is available on this web-site and/or a hypertext link will direct you to the information in question (there is no charge for the information accessed via the publication scheme).

Visit the Acas Publication Scheme for further information.

Does Acas charge for any request made under the Act?

Acas currently does not charge for requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

Will I be able to obtain personal information Acas holds about myself under the Act?

No. The Data Protection Act is the correct Act to request personal information not the Freedom of Information Act.

How do I request information from Acas under the Freedom of Information Act?

Visit the What to do when making a request page.

Can I see previous Freedom of Information requests made to Acas?

Yes, see the Acas Disclosure Log available on the Acas Publication Scheme page to view previously asked questions/responses.

Who ensures Acas complies with the Act?

The Information Commissioner is responsible for ensuring that all public authorities comply with the Act.