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Freedom of Information

From January 2005, new information access rights under the Freedom of Information Act external link (FOIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations external link (EIRs) came fully into force.
The FOIA gives you the general right of access to all the policy and administrative information we hold and the EIRs give the right of access to environmental information.
Since 1st January 2005 you have had:
You can complain to the Department if you are dissatisfied with the response to your request for information under the FOIA or the EIRs, including how your request was handled.  The Department's target time for determining such complaints is 20 working days.
The FOIA and EIRs also apply to the public authotities set out below for which the Department is the sponsoring body.  Requests under FOIA or EIRs from these authorities should be directly made to them.  The links below provide further information on how FOIA or EIR requests can be made.

Publication Scheme

As part of our commitment to Freedom of Information, we have a Publication Scheme in place. This scheme tells you about the classes of information we publish.
Publication has been interpreted as broadly as possible to include information available in any format: on our website, paper and electronic documents, printed booklets and leaflets, and audio and video.
The format and where the information can be obtained is indicated within the Publication Scheme. It will also indicate whether a charge applies. Where documents are withheld from publication, we will explain what exemption has been applied and why. The Department reserves the right to charge for the production of multiple paper copies of documents, which are otherwise free of charge.
As it is intended that the majority of information contained in the Publication Scheme will be posted on our website, there will be no charge made by us, although you may have to pay any charges made by your Internet Service Provider, personal printing costs, etc.
If the information you are looking for is not contained within the Scheme, you may have to make a request for information.
We would be pleased to hear from you if you have any comments about our scheme.
Copyright Statement
The Department for Social Development is a crown body and the information we produce is subject to Crown Copyright external link, which is administered by the Office of Public Sector Information external link. The material listed in this Publication Scheme is Crown Copyright unless otherwise stated.
The copyright in some of the material which may be found in this Publication Scheme has been waived, meaning you can reproduce this material freely. Categories of material for which copyright has been waived include: government press notices, legislation and explanatory notes on the legislation, ministerial speeches, consultation documents, documents featured on official websites, headline statistics and unpublished public records. More details of these and other categories can be found at: external link
For other types of material however, the supply of documents under Freedom of Information does not give the person or organisation who receives them an automatic right to reuse the documents in a way that would infringe copyright, for example, by making multiple copies, publishing and issuing copies to the public.
Brief extracts of any of the material included in this Publication Scheme may be reproduced under the fair dealing provisions of the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 external link (See section 29 and section 30) for the purposes of research for non–commercial purposes, private study, criticism, review and news reporting.
Details of the arrangements for reusing Crown copyright material can be found on the Office of Public Sector Information website at: external link or by contacting:
Office of Public Sector Information
Information Policy Team
Telephone:020 8876 3444,
email: or
OPSI website: external link
Authorisation to re–use copyright material not owned by the Crown should be sought from the copyright holders concerned.  If in doubt, users should contact the Office of Public Sector Information in the first instance.