Ask for an internal review
If you have received a response but are not satisfied with the response or the reasons for not supplying information specified in the refusal notice, you may ask the public authority for a review of its decision.
You should request a review as soon as possible.
To request a review you must:
- complete the correct form which is available online
- specify the reason(s) why you are dissatisfied with the original response, for example, the application of exemptions/practical refusal reasons, or the handling of the request.
If your reason is not clear the authority has a duty to advise and assist you in making a valid review request.
The aim of a review is to allow the authority to take a fresh look at its response to your request and enable different decisions to be taken if appropriate.
Authorities should conform with the Council of Minister's 'Freedom of Information Act 2015 Code of Practice' when reviewing requests and undertake a fair, impartial review which, where possible, is handled by staff who were not involved in the original decision.
The response to you could:
- confirm the decision
- modify the decision
- substitute the decision with a different one.
How long should a review take?
Neither FOIA or the Code of Practice specifies, or provides any guidance on, a timescale for dealing with a review.
However, the Commissioner does not consider that a review should, unless it is a particularly voluminous and complex case, take longer than the statutory time for replying to the original request - i.e. 20 working days.
It is also reasonable to expect authorities to keep the requester informed and communicate any anticipated undue delay together with an explanation.