The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives a general right of access to information held by public authorities subject to certain exemptions. The House of Commons and the House of Lords are separate public authorities under the Act. They therefore have separate arrangements for complying with the Act.
House of Commons Publication Scheme
Find out what information is already published by the House of Commons and how to how to make a Freedom of Information request.
House of Commons staff guidance for handling requests for information
Guidance on how the House of Commons deals with requests for information.
See what Freedom of Information requests the House of Commons has received.
The House of Lords Freedom of Information pages contain:
House of Lords Publication Scheme
Access to the House of Lords Publication Scheme, prepared in accordance with s.19 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
How to obtain information about the House of Lords
Explains how to make a request for information on the work of the House of Lords
Summary of what the Freedom of Information Act does
Explaining how the Act affects public authorities, such as the House of Lords.
See what Freedom of Information requests the House of Lords has received.
House of Lords staff guidance for handling complaints and appeals
What is the Data Protection Act?
The Data Protection Act sets out the rules for processing personal information. It gives certain rights to individuals and it also says that those who record and use personal information must adhere to eight principles. These 'data protection principles' state that data must be:
fairly and lawfully processed
processed for limited purposes
adequate, relevant and not excessive
not kept for longer than is necessary
processed in line with an individual's rights
not transferred to other countries without adequate protection
Requests for personal information
Under the Data Protection Act individuals may ask to see information that is held about them on computer files and on some paper files. A 'subject access' request must be in writing and public authorities may charge £10, but they must be dealt with within 40 days.
The House of Commons, the House of Lords, and Members of Parliament are separate data controllers. Details of the procedures for dealing with subject access requests can be found in the guidance below. Any member of staff who receives such a request should immediately inform their Departmental Data Protection Representative who will provide advice and liaise with the Data Protection Officer. Members of Parliament's offices have their own procedures for dealing with subject access requests.
Requests for information about a person other than the person who has made the request are not subject access requests. These should be considered under the Freedom of Information Act. House of Commons procedures for dealing with these requests can be found on the staff guidance page. Members of Parliament are not subject to the terms of the Freedom of Information Act.
Data Protection guidance
Directgov - Freedom of Information
Information on the Freedom of Information Act and how to make requests from public bodies