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What sort of information will I be able to access?

Any information that is not subject to an exemption (which includes personal information).

Can I get access to personal information?
Individuals already have the right to access information held about them under the Data Protection Act. Personal information relating to identifiable third parties may be exempt under the Freedom of Information Act.

When can I get this information?
There will be full access from January 2005.

Who oversees the implementation of the Act?
The Information Commissioner is responsible for the regulation of the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act. The Department for Constitutional Affairs has the responsibility within government.

Who decides if I can have the information that I want?
There will be an internal department responsible for making decisions relating to requests for information.

Why can I only access the Open session of executive meetings?
The Freedom of Information Act provides several exemptions to protect information which it is considered to be in the public interest not to disclose. Whilst a request for disclosure will be considered on a case by case basis, it is likely that information within the Closed session minutes will be exempt.

What happens if I am unhappy with a decision?
If you are unhappy with a decision there will be an internal appeals procedure followed by a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner.

Can I make a request for information held about me and more general information which may be related at the same time?
Yes, but they would have to be dealt with separately  under the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act.

Is the Act fully retrospective?
Yes, but authorities will have a retention policy as part of their information management strategy, so some information will only be retained for a certain amount of time. The Act only applies to information held by the authority.

Who can make an application for information under the Act?
Anyone, whether an individual or a corporate body. They do not have to be UK citizens or residents. They need only supply the authority with sufficient details to process the request and reply