The statistics cover the implementation and operation of the Act 2000 in central government.
Figures are derived from manual returns submitted by participating bodies, and cover timeliness of responses, outcomes of requests, and use of the appeal process.
The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:
- meet identified user needs;
- are well explained and readily accessible;
- are produced according to sound methods, and
- are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.
Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.
The Freedom of Information Act received Royal Assent on 30 November 2000. Under the Act, anybody may request information from a public authority which has functions in England, Wales and/or Northern Ireland. The Act confers two statutory rights on applicants:
- To be told whether or not the public authority holds that information; and if so,
- To have that information communicated to them.
These statutory rights came into force on 1 January 2005. The Ministry of Justice is the lead department responsible for the Freedom of Information Act.
The (amended) Environmental Information Regulations also came into force on 1 January 2005, to coincide with the Freedom of Information Act. They clarify and extend previous rights to environmental information held by public authorities.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is the lead department responsible for the Environmental Information Regulations. Further information is available from their website.
In addition to Ministry of Justice professional and production staff, pre-release access to the quarterly statistics of up to 24 hours is granted to the following postholders:
Ministry of Justice: Secretary of State, Minister of State, Permanent Secretary, Information Director, Head of Information Policy Division, Head of FOI Policy and Strategy Unit, Head of Data Access and Compliance Unit, special advisers and the relevant press officer.
Other monitored bodies: The statistics are compiled with the assistance of freedom of information officers in each monitored body, although these officials do not have pre-release access to the final quarterly bulletin prior to publication.