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Freedom of Information (FOI)

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The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives you the right to access recorded information held by public sector organisations. Anyone can request information – there are no restrictions on your age, nationality or where you live.

1. Introduction

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority ("the Authority") is committed to open government and the proactive release of the information it holds.

2. What is the Freedom of Information Act 2000?

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 ("the Act") grants a right of access to information held by public authorities. It promotes openness and accountability among public sector organisations so that everyone can understand how authorities make decisions, carry out their duties and spend public money.

As such, any person who makes a request for information to the Authority is entitled to be informed, subject to any exemptions, whether the Authority holds that information and, if so, to be supplied with that information.

There are some exemptions to this general right of access. These are known as 'absolute exemptions' and 'qualified exemptions'. If a qualified exemption applies, then it is subject to the public interest test.

This means the Authority must decide whether in each case it serves the public interests better to withhold or disclose the information requested.

3. What is a Publication Scheme?

Every public authority subject to the Freedom of Information Act is required to adopt and maintain a publication scheme setting out what information will routinely be made available, how the information can be accessed and whether or not the information is free of charge.

The idea of a publication scheme is to try and make sure as much information as possible is freely available and easy to access so you do not need to make a specific request.

The Authority has adopted the Information Commissioner's Office's (ICO's) model publication scheme. The scheme consists of information already published and held by the Authority or information which is to be published in the future.

All information in our publication scheme is either available for you on our website to download and print off, or is available in traditional document form. Information within the publication scheme will be available either free, or at a charge.

Some information may not be made available when:

  • we do not hold the information
  • the information is exempt from disclosure
  • we cannot easily access the information

4. Classes of information published by the Authority

The ICO's model publication scheme identifies 7 "classes" of information as follows:

The Authority is required to specify the information which it holds and which falls within those categories of information and has produced a simple guide which lists the specific information it publishes within each of the above classes.

5. How to make a request for information not contained in the Publication Scheme

The Authority includes as much information in the scheme as it can. However, if you cannot find what you are looking for you can make a request for information.

The Act gives you the right to express a preference for information to be provided in a particular way and we will do our best to help with this so far as reasonably practicable. In order for us to ensure your application is dealt with promptly you must provide:

  • your name and address so we can respond to your request;
  • a clear and understandable written request with enough detail to locate the information;
  • an indication about the form in which you would like the information.

Some documents may include exempt information; in this case you will only be furnished with the information which is not exempt.

The Authority is obliged to disclose the information you request within 20 working days unless a fees notice is applicable or the Authority requires a reasonable extension of time to consider the public interest test.

Where the information is exempt, the Authority will state so and explain its decision. You have the right to request an internal review of the Authority's decision and if you are still not satisfied, to complain to the Information Commissioner.

Our Information Governance team administers Freedom of Information on behalf of the GMCA. If you wish to provide feedback about our publication scheme or if you require further assistance, please contact:

Information Governance Team
Greater Manchester Combined Authority,
Broadhurst House,
56 Oxford Street,
M1 6EU 

6. Making a complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of a Freedom of Information request, you have the right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your original letter and should be addressed to:

Greater Manchester Combined Authority,
Broadhurst House, 
56 Oxford Street, 
M1 6EU 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office,
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,

ICO website (opens in a new tab)

7. Comments/feedback about our Publication Scheme

Our Information Governance team administers Freedom of Information on behalf of the GMCA.

If you wish to provide feedback about our publication scheme or if you require further assistance, please contact the Greater Manchester Integrated Support Team:

Information Governance Team
Greater Manchester Combined Authority,
Broadhurst House,
56 Oxford Street,
M1 6EU

8. Fees and cost of compliance

Material which is published and accessed on the website can be downloaded free of charge.

The Authority does not make charges for reasonable requests for hard copy information. However, if a charge for information is applicable, this will be in respect of:

  • reproducing any document containing the information e.g. printing or photocopying
  • postage and other forms of transmitting the information.

Where a charge is applicable, you will be sent a fees notice specifying the fee and the requirement to pay within 3 months of the fees notice being issued. If the Authority does not receive payment within that period, it is no longer obliged to respond to your request.

Under the Act, a public authority does not have to comply with a request for information if the cost of compliance exceeds the appropriate limit set by the Fees Regulations. However, the Authority will inform you if the limit will be exceeded and will try to let you know what can be provided within the limit.

Despite not being obliged to provide the information which exceeds the limit, the Authority will still be under a duty to provide advice and assistance.

9. Review of Publication Scheme

The Authority will review its publication scheme on an annual basis. However, material contained within the classes of information will be updated as required and any out-of-date information will be removed.

The publication scheme is maintained by the Information Officer whose details are set out in Section 5 above.