Existing Access to Government Information

Telephone

If you have a general query, members of staff may be able to answer immediately.  Further information and contact details are available within our Government pages

Website

All Government Departments and many other areas of Government, have their own websites and you may find the information you are seeking has already been published on these sites. In addition, an increasing number of datasets are being published in the Open Data section.

Code of Practice on Access to Government Information 1996

Anyone can request information from Government currently under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information 1996 ('Access Code'). 

The Access Code outlines the information that Government is committed to release, which can be summarised into five areas as follows:-

  1. Facts and analysis of facts relevant to major policy proposals;
  2. Explanatory material on the Government's dealings with the public (for example, rules and procedures);
  3. Reasons for administrative decisions to those affected;
  4. Full information on how public services are run (for example, costs and targets); and
  5. Details relating to policies, actions and decisions.

The Access Code supports the policy that some information must be kept confidential and therefore a list of exemptions is included. Examples of exempt information are national security and defence. 

You can make an Access Code request in writing to Government.

Public Record Office

The Public Record Office ('PRO') was established in the 1990's and the Public Records Act 1999 provides the basis for their objectives:-

  • Advice and assistance to bodies holding public records.
  • Preservation and organisation of archives.
  • Facilitation of appropriate public access to records and archives.

Most records held by the PRO are being assessed and listed and are normally open to the public when they are 30 years old, however, access to the records being assessed and listed may still be possible before expiry of the 30 year closure period. Contact the PRO in advance of any visit to ensure that all necessary arrangements are in place.

Personal Information

Under the Data Protection Act 2002, individuals have a right of access to their own personal data and to check the accuracy of that data; this is known as "subject access".

A subject access request should be made in writing to the area of Government that holds your personal data. Contact details are available within our Government pages.

There may be a charge of up to £10 to provide the information you have requested. If you request access to health records, a fee of up to £50 may be charged.

Subject access requests must be responded to promptly and in any event within a maximum of 40 calendar days.

The Information Commissioner is the independent authority responsible for upholding the public's information rights and promoting and enforcing compliance with the Island's information rights legislation. Further information can be found on the Information Commissioner's website.

You have the right to request the Information Commissioner to undertake an assessment as to whether the processing of your personal data has been carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2002.

Freedom of Information Act 2015

With effect from 1 February 2016 the Freedom of Information Act 2015 ('FOIA 2015') becomes operational for all Government Departments, Isle of Man Constabulary and the Clerk of Tynwald.

The purpose of the FOIA 2015 is to enable persons who are resident in the Island to obtain access to information in accordance with the principles that:

  1. the information should be available to the public to promote the public interest, and
  2. exceptions to the right of access are necessary to maintain a balance with rights to privacy, effective government, and value for the taxpayer.

In order to request information under the FOIA 2015, you must complete a Freedom of Information request form which will be available online and in paper form from 1 February 2016. We also have a useful guide to show you how to make a Freedom of Information request.

The Information Commissioner's functions in respect of the FOIA 2015 commence on 1 February 2016.

Open Government Licence

Information that is protected by copyright or be database right (for example, literary and artistic works, content, data and source code) may be offered for use under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

Further information

Further advice on seeking information in any of these ways can be obtained by contacting General Enquiries on +44 1624 685685, completing the contact us form above or emailing: enquiries@gov.im.