Code of Practice on Access to Government Information ('Access Code')
We are here to help
Are you looking for information? If so, we are here to help.
Members of staff answer thousands of queries from the public every year. Most of these requests are for general information – for example, assistance with tax returns, bus timetable queries or how to apply for a work permit.
So, the first thing to do is ‘ask us’.
The Access Code
We can also provide assistance if you are looking for further information in the public interest, which may be held by the Isle of Man Government. Since 1996, the Government has had in place an Access Code which supports our policy of extending access to official Government information. The Access Code applies to all Departments, Boards and Offices of Government. Our target for response to simple requests for information is 10 working days from date of receipt.
The Access Code provides full details of the information that Government is committed to release, which can be summarised into five areas as follows:
- Facts and analysis of facts relevant to major policy proposals;
- Explanatory material on the Government’s dealings with the public (for example, rules and procedures);
- Reasons for administrative decisions to those affected;
- Full information on how public services are run (for example, costs and targets); and
- Details relating to policies, actions and decisions.
Government recognises that the disclosure of some information is not in the public interest – for example, details which would breach personal privacy or threaten national security. As a result, the Access Code supports the policy that some information must be kept confidential, and a list of exemptions is included – that is, information which will not be released. These exemptions include information on national security; defence; communications with the Royal Household; law enforcement; legal proceedings; immigration and nationality cases; collection of taxes; public appointments; voluminous or vexatious requests and commercial confidences.
The Access Code helps to facilitate the provision of Government-held information to the public and provides a framework to support its release. It is very rare for information requests to be turned down. If requests for information are refused, an appeal mechanism is in place. Should the decision to refuse disclose of information be upheld on appeal, the reason for non-disclosure will always be provided to the individual.
- A copy of the Access Code is available in the downloadable documents section at the side of this page, along with a flowchart outlining the process.