Freedom of information policy

Published: 21 December 2023

Last updated: 31 January 2024

What countries does this apply to?

  • England
  • Scotland
  • Wales

Introduction

This policy will be reviewed in January 2026.

Freedom of information

We are committed to complying with freedom of information legislation and any other related laws that apply. This includes the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and The Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

This policy focuses on the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’). The Act enables anyone, anywhere in the world, to request any recorded information that we hold. The applicant does not need to explain the reasons for their request, or that it is a request under the Act.

Requests for information must be made in writing and include the name and address (or email address) of the person applying and the information they need.

We will provide information if we hold it, unless one or more of the exemptions listed in the Act applies. We do not have to provide information that is exempt.

If you want to know more about the Freedom of Information Act, or the Environmental Information Regulations, visit the Information Commissioner's website.

Our responsibilities

Our Leadership Team has overall responsibility for this policy. Our Directors and Executive Directors are responsible for making sure that it is implemented and followed. We reserve the right to change the policy at any time.

The Senior Information Risk Owner (SIRO) is the Director accountable to our Leadership Team and Board, for understanding the risks involved with holding information.

The Information Governance Steering Group (IGSG) supports the SIRO to develop and improve how we manage our information and data protection.

The Corporate Law, Information and Governance Team advises on freedom of information legislation and handles requests. All of our staff are responsible for identifying and forwarding information requests to the Corporate Law, Information and Governance Team and responding promptly to requests from the team.

Publication scheme

We publish a lot of information about the work we do as a public authority and we use the Information Commissioner’s Model Publication Scheme.

We routinely make certain information available. This information, which can be found on our website, includes:

  • who we are and what we do
  • what we spend and how we spend it
  • what our priorities are and how we are doing
  • how we make decisions
  • our policies and procedures
  • lists and registers, and
  • the services we offer.

If you do not find what you are looking for, you can write to us to ask for information that we hold.

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests

Making a request

You can email your request to our Information Governance Team at [email protected], or write to us at:  

The Equality and Human Rights Commission
Information Governance Team
Arndale House
Arndale Centre
Manchester
M4 3AQ

Please include the following details in your request:

  • your name and address (or email address)
  • the information you need, and
  • how you would like us to send the information to you (for example, by post or by email).

When you ask us for information, try to be as clear as possible. This will help us to understand your request and respond to you promptly. If your request is unclear, we might ask you for more information to help us understand what you are looking for.

Reasonable adjustments and alternative formats

Our aim is to make our policy easy to use and accessible for everyone. We will take steps to make any reasonable adjustments needed to access this policy, or any requests to provide responses in other formats.

For anyone who is unable to contact us in writing and needs a reasonable adjustment because of a disability, call us on: 0161 829 8100.

If you would prefer a response in Welsh, please let us know. We welcome correspondence in Welsh. We will respond in Welsh and this will not cause a delay.

How we process FOI requests

If you write to us requesting information about our work as a public authority, we will deal with these requests under freedom of information legislation.

We aim to respond to your request promptly and within 20 working days. If we are not able to meet this deadline, we will tell you and let you know when we are likely to be able to respond to your request.

After you have made your request, we will either:

  • give you the information you have asked for
  • let you know where you can find the information
  • confirm that we do not hold the information, or
  • explain why we cannot give you the information.

We will usually be able to give you the information you ask for.

However, there are some exemptions that allow us to withhold certain types of information, such as personal data or sensitive commercial information, because releasing that information is likely to cause harm or prejudice.

We are also usually unable to provide information gathered during:

  • our inquiries
  • our investigations
  • public sector equality duty (PSED) assessments, or
  • where we think a person has committed an unlawful act and we enter into an agreement with them or issue an unlawful act notice.

This is because the requirement for privacy under the Equality Act 2006 takes priority over our duties under the Freedom of Information Act.

As a publicly funded organisation, we can turn down a request if, for example, it would be too costly for us to respond because of how long it would take us to gather the information. Where possible, we will try to help you to refine your request so that it would take us less time to gather the information you need.

If we cannot give you the information you are looking for, we will write to you and explain why. We will also let you know what to do next if you disagree with our decision.

Reviews

If you are not happy with the response you receive following an information request, you should first complain to us in writing using the same contact details you used to make your request.

We aim to respond to requests for review within 20 working days.

If you still remain dissatisfied after receiving our response, you can complain to the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

The Information Commissioner will not usually deal with a complaint unless our internal review process has been exhausted.

Requests for your personal data

You cannot request your own personal data under freedom of information legislation. If you ask us for copies of your personal data, we will deal with your request under data protection legislation. We will usually only hold information about you if you have been in contact with us before.

We aim to respond to these requests within one month, but the UK General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) also gives you other rights relating to personal information that we hold about you.

You can find out more about these rights and how to make a request in our privacy notice. It also includes more information about what we do with personal data.

Contacts

Questions and comments regarding this policy may be addressed to: [email protected]. We welcome your feedback.

For information on accessing one of our publications in an alternative format, contact: [email protected].

Keep up to date with our latest news, events and publications by signing up to our e-newsletter.

EASS

For advice, information or guidance on equality, discrimination or human rights issues, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service, a free and independent service.

Telephone: 0808 800 0082

Hours: 09:00 to 19:00 (Monday to Friday)

             10:00 to 14:00 (Saturday)

Post: FREEPOST EASS HELPLINE FPN6521

 

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