What is Dissolution?
Dissolution is the official term for the end of a Parliament, and follows a set process. Because Parliament has been dissolved, it ceases to exist. This has an impact on how we provide information to the public.
How are Freedom of Information requests handled during Dissolution?
Section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) gives the general right of access to information held by public authorities. However, during the Dissolution period, Parliament ceases to exist, which means there is no ‘public authority’ to which the Act applies. As a result, the right of access to information described by the Act is suspended.
All requests are still acknowledged, but the 20-day deadline is calculated to exclude the period between Dissolution and the new Parliament convening. Requesters are advised that they may expect their response after the House returns (which is usually sometime after the General Election).
You may also wish to read details of a Decision Notice from the Information Commissioner's Office regarding Dissolution.
How else can I get information during Dissolution?
The House of Commons already publishes a huge amount of information. Typically, around one in five requests sent to the IRIS Service alone are for information which is already published.
We recommend that you check our web pages in the first instance for the information you seek. The following links may be helpful:
- The House of Commons Publication Scheme describes the main published information arranged into helpful categories, in accordance with guidance from the ICO
- Committee webpages - provides information on the work of Committees, as well as documentation related to their enquiries
- FOI disclosures - check we haven’t already answered a similar request
- FOI transparency publications - we often proactively publish data related to frequently asked questions
In addition, a further 20% of questions asked to the House of Commons are for information we don’t hold. Often these requests are better directed to a Government Department, or other public authority. It may help you to check our How Parliament works pages, which provide helpful information about Parliament’s role.
Who do I contact if I have any other queries?
The House of Commons Information Rights and Information Security (IRIS) Service can be contacted as follows:
Telephone: 020 7219 2559
The Information Rights and Information Security (IRIS) Service
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
The Information Commissioner’s Office can be contacted as follows:
Telephone: 0303 123 1113
Information Commissioner’s Office
Cheshire SK9 5AF