Pending the introduction of the general right of access to information created by the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Home Office and its Agencies remain committed, under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information to:
Any request to the Home Office for information will be handled in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Practice.
Requests for InformationThe Home Office proactively publishes a wide range of information. In addition, in late 2002, government departments established publication schemes under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Therefore, you may first wish to search the Home Office Publication Scheme, departmental websites or check with the General Enquiries section to find out if the information you require has already been published or if there are plans to do so. Alternatively, if you know which part of the office might deal with the information you require, then contact them direct. Main contact details are:
Direct Communications Unit
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF
Tel: 020 7035 4848 (09:00-17:00 Mon-Fri)
Fax: 020 7035 4745
Minicom: 020 7035 4742 (09:00-17:00 Mon-Fri)
TargetThe Home Office target for meeting requests for information is twenty working days.
Requests for personal dataThe Data Protection Act 1998 governs the processing of personal data (information relating to living individuals). This legislation makes it possible for you to request access to personal data that the Home Office may hold about you. A request for disclosure of such information is called a subject access request.
Should you wish to know more about your rights under the Data
Protection Act 1998 you should consult the Office of the Information Commissioner's website
Limits of DisclosureThe Home Office will disclose information wherever possible. However, in certain limited circumstances, it will be necessary to preserve confidentiality where it is not in the public interest to disclose. These are set out in Part II of the Code of Practice and are the exemptions to the general requirement to release information. In any case where information is refused, the Home Office will specify which exemption is being claimed and why. All requests for information will be carefully considered on their own merits and with close regard to the public interest.
ComplaintsAnyone not satisfied with the response to their request may seek an independent review by writing to:
Information Access Manager
Record Management Service Home Office
50 Queen Anne's Gate
Fax 020 7273 3592
stating when and to whom the original request was made.
The Home Office target for a substantive response to a complaint is twenty working days. Complainants will be kept informed if any delays appear likely.
Anyone not satisfied with the outcome of a review may ask a Member of Parliament to take a complaint to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration; the Ombudsman.
FeesAlthough requests for information will generally be met without charge, a charge may be made for costs of postage, photocopying, tapes, disks or computer runs. In addition, a fee may be charged where significant work is involved in meeting a request for information. In those cases, the first hour's work will be free and a charge of £20 for each subsequent hour will be made.
Special arrangements exist for the media.
Contact Points for FOI
Information Access Manager/Complaints
50 Queen Annes Gate
Tel 0870 000 1585
Fax 020 7273 2065
Telephone: (09:00-17:00) 020 7273 3476
Public records over 30 years oldDepartmental Records Officer
50 Queen Anne's Gate
Research, Development and Statistics Directorate
Communication Development Unit
50 Queen Anne's Gate
Tel 020 7273 2084
Fax 020 7273 0211
Information Management Section,
John Islip Street
London, SW1P 4LH.
Tel 020 7217 2125
Open Government Co-ordinator
89 Eccleston Square
Tel 020 7901 2452
Fax 020 7901 2459
Leaflets giving details of how the Home Office and its Agencies are following the Code of Practice are available in English and Welsh.
Leaflet outlining the Home Office's commitment to the Code of Practice (English) (file size 32Kb)
Leaflet outlining the Home Office's commitment to the Code of Practice (Welsh) (file size 81Kb)
Guidance issued for Home Office staff on the Code of Practice: (file size 391Kb) Procedures for the release of official information came into force in all Government Departments on 4 April 1994. The Code of Practice supports the Government's policy under the Citizen' s Charter of extending access to official information, and responding to reasonable requests for information.