How to make a Freedom of Information request
Before making a request
There is already a lot of information made available publicly. You may find the answer to your question on the government website before you make a request.
We will publish anonymised responses to Freedom of Information requests on our website in a disclosure log. Once information is issued to you in response to your Freedom of Information request, it is then considered to be publicly available.
Information we publish online may be treated as exempt under section 20, information accessible to applicant by other means.
If the information you are requesting is already publicly available, your request may be refused, however, we have a duty to advise and assist you to locate the information you are seeking.
Making sure your request is valid
You must be an Isle of Man resident. This can be as an individual or a company, body or organisation.
Your request must be on a Freedom of Information request form.
You must provide your name, an address and an adequate description of the information you are requesting.
You do not have to inform us why you want the information.
What you can ask for
Freedom of Information covers all information held by authorities listed in Schedule 1 of the Act and which was created on or after 11 October 2011 with the exception of personal information about you. To access information about yourself, you will need to make a 'subject access request' under the Data Protection Act 2002.
If the information refers to someone else, this will only be released under Freedom of Information if it complies with data protection principles.
Asking for information in a particular format
If, at the time of making your request for information, you express a preference for receiving the information, the authority will, where reasonably practicable give effect to your preference.
The authority will take into consideration all the circumstances, including cost, when determining what is a reasonably practicable way of providing the information to you. If the provision of the information in a certain way is not considered reasonably practicable then the authority will let you know the reason for this.
Information is not kept indefinitely because of the significant costs associated with storing and maintaining information and the more information is kept, the harder it may be to locate and retrieve specific information when someone requests it. Public authorities maintain information retention schedules which detail how long information must be kept for.
These schedules are maintained in line with any law and standards that relate to information e.g. keeping financial records for audit purposes. Some information is also passed to the Public Record Office for permanent preservation.
Writing your request
Please be as specific as possible about the information you are seeking to obtain, such as by providing a specific timeframe to assist staff in locating the information.
Aim for one question per request. Asking for lots of different information within one request can make it difficult to understand what you are really requesting.
Where can you get help to make a request
If you need help writing your request, contact the authority directly.
What we do with the personal information you provide
The personal information you provide to the authority in making your Freedom of Information request will be processed by the authority in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2002 including the monitoring of communications to check for compliance with relevant policies and law.
Your request will be anonymised before being passed to the relevant business area(s) that may hold the information you have requested.
Information will not be passed to any third party without your prior consent.
Do you have to pay to make a request?
No, the Council of Ministers has agreed not to charge a fee for a request made under the Freedom of Information Act 2015 until the impact can be assessed. This will be kept under review during the pilot and Council reserves the right to introduce Fees Regulations at any time.
Public authorities under Freedom of Information law
The following public authorities are under the Freedom of Information Act 2015 law with effect from 1 January 2017:-
- Cabinet Office
- Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture
- Department of Economic Development
- Department of Health and Social Care
- Department of Home Affairs
- Department of Infrastructure
- Isle of Man Constabulary
- Clerk of Tynwald
When we may refuse your request
Your request for information may be refused if:-
• It is not a valid request
• A practical refusal reason applies
• An exemption applies