House of Commons FOI & EIR information

The House of Commons is a public authority for the purpose of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR). Individuals can request access to information by:

Requests for information should be made in writing (email or letter) and they must include your name, an address for correspondence and a description of the material you would like to see.


 

Dissolution

Please note that from 3 May 2017, Parliament enters a period of Dissolution, which means it ceases to exist for the purpose of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  In practical terms, responses to FOI requests are suspended until after the House of Commons formally returns – which is a date agreed sometime after the General Election.

Further details about Dissolution and how it affects requests for information may be found on our Dissolution web page.

Our Service

Formal requests under FOI or EIR are dealt with by the Information Rights and Information Security (IRIS) Service of the House of Commons.

Requests to other teams for day-to-day information may be dealt with on an informal basis in order to provide the best possible service to our customers.

All requests should be dealt with helpfully, promptly, and within 20 working days of receipt.

Requests for information held by MPs

Members of Parliament are not employees of the House of Commons.  They are Data Controllers in their own right and are responsible for the information the hold.  MPs are not classed as public authorities under the FOI Act.  For this reason, MPs are not subject to FOI and they are not obliged to answer requests for information.

Requests for information not held

In 2016, 45% of the requests received by the House of Commons were for information that we do not hold.   
Often, this was as a result of people wanting information held by the Government, which is different to the House of Commons. To understand the difference, we recommend that requesters read our web page ‘Parliament and the Government’.
You may also wish to check our section entitled ‘Information not held’ to read about other types of data we do not hold – and why we do not hold it - before you submit a request.

Published information

The House of Commons publishes a huge amount of information, and before making a request it is worth checking to see if it isn’t already available.  Currently, 1 in 5 requests to the House of Commons are refused because the information is already published.

Disclosures

We publish the responses to FOI requests that provide information in the public interest and/or contain datasets.  This information, arranged by topic, is available at House of Commons Disclosures

A full list of all FOI requests and how they were answered is also available at  House of Commons request log

Proactive Publication

There are some types of information which are frequently requested, and to provide better access we regularly publish this data on our Transparency pages. 

This information, arranged by topic, is available at  House of Commons Transparency Publications

Our Model Publication Scheme

To help locate all the information available from the House of Commons, please refer to our Publication Scheme.  This summarises information, published in categories as defined by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Staff Guidance


Whilst the following guidance is aimed at staff of the House of Commons, it may also provide useful information for applicants seeking to understand the process that is followed in dealing with requests.

 

Related information

Information Commissioner

The Information Commissioner's Office is the UK's independent authority set up to promote access to official information and to protect personal information. Further information about relevant laws is available on the Information Commissioner's Office website.

 

Relevant legislation

The official, revised edition of relevant legislation can be found in the UK Statute Law Database through the following links

Records Management