Freedom of information

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on freedom of information. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Standard Notes

DateDescription
20.03.2014FoI and Ministerial vetoes
The Lord Chancellor, Jack Straw, issued the first ministerial veto in relation to a FoI request on 23 February 2009 for the contents of the legal advice on military action against Iraq. Two subsequent vetoes were issued protecting communications on devolution issues and a fourth on. A fourth veto was issued on 8 May 2012 blocking the release of the NHS Transitional Risk Register and a fifth in July 2012 blocking extracts from Cabinet minutes on the military action against Iraq in 2003. The most recent, the sixth, was on 16 October 2012, relating to the release of correspondence from Prince Charles to Government departments. This Standard Note traces the history of the veto within FoI legislation and summarises comparative examples abroad.
14.01.2014Local government: transparency agenda
Information on local government transparency, including data transparency, the publicity code, and pay policy statements.
16.07.2013Public records, freedom of information and the Royal Family
This Note outlines exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act relating to the Royal Family.
12.07.2013Freedom of Information requests
From 1 January 2005, individuals were given the right to make requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This note gives a brief summary of the rights in relation to Freedom of Information to enable requesters to understand the statutory background.
04.07.2013Fees for FoI requests
This Note sets out the legal position on charging fees for Freedom of Information requests.

Research Papers

DateDescription
05.12.2013Intellectual Property Bill [HL]
The Intellectual Property Bill [HL] (Bill 102 of session 2013-14) was introduced into the House of Lords on 9 May 2013, where it received Second Reading on 22 May. It completed its parliamentary stages in the upper house on 30 July and was passed to the Commons, where it received First Reading on 29 August. This Research Paper has been produced to inform the Second Reading debate in the Commons, which is scheduled for 9 December 2013.
28.06.2011Protection of Freedoms Bill: Committee Stage Report Bill 189 of 2010-11
This is a report on the House of Commons Committee Stage of the Protection of Freedoms Bill. It complements Research Paper 11/20 prepared for the Commons Second Reading.
21.02.2007The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill [Bill 62 2006-07]
This Research Paper sets out the background to the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill 2006-07.
24.11.2004Freedom of Information implementation
Freedom of Information implementation. House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/84.
23.11.2000Freedom of Information Bill - Lords amendments (HL Bill 129 1999/2000)
The Freedom of Information Bill - Lords amendments (HL Bill 129 of 1999/2000). House of Commons Library Research Paper 00/89.

Select Committee Reports

DateDescription
19.12.2011Memorandum to the Justice Select Committee on Post-legislative assessment of the Freedom of Information...
Justice Select Committee report [Commons]
13.10.2009Policing process of Home Office leaks inquiry.
Government response. Home Office; Home Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]
09.06.2009Access to EU documents.
European Union Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
31.03.2009Policing process of Home Office leaks inquiry.
Home Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]
03.02.2009The work of the Information Commissioner: appointment of a new Commissioner.
Justice Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

DateDescription
08.09.2010COVERT SURVEILLANCE BY LOCAL COUNCILS
That this House is concerned by the moral hazard involved in covert surveillance by local councils; regrets that this was enabled and encouraged by the previous Labour Government's ...
23.06.2010FREEDOM OF INFORMATION IN THE EU
That this House believes that all levels of government should be underpinned by the principle of good governance; notes the importance that transparency brings to public accountability ...
08.06.2010FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND ANIMAL EXPERIMENTATION
That this House notes that section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, as recently interpreted by the Court of Appeal, prevents the Home Office from disclosing all information, ...
13.01.2010FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND COMPANIES OWNED BY TWO OR MORE PUBLIC AUTHORITIES
That this House notes that section 6 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, with certain exceptions, makes companies wholly owned by the Crown or by a single public authority subject ...
12.01.2010FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 AND THE ROYAL HOUSEHOLD
That this House notes the contribution to UK society of the Freedom of Information Act 2000; further notes the importance of public accountability; believes that the public has a right ...

Lords Library Notes

DateDescription
03.11.2011Protection of Freedoms Bill (HL Bill 99 of 2010-12)
This Library Note provides background information in advance of the Protection of Freedoms Bill's second reading in the House of Lords.

Glossary

  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses