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House of Commons
Session 1999-2000
Internet Publications
Other Bills before Parliament

Freedom of Information Bill

This is the text of the Freedom of Information Bill, as presented to the House of Commons on 18th November 1999.

 
EXPLANATORY NOTES

Explanatory Notes to the Bill, prepared by the Home Office, are published separately as HC Bill 5- EN.


EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

Mr Secretary Straw has made the following statement under section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998:

In my view the provisions of the Freedom of Information Bill are compatible with the Convention rights.


 
  
Freedom of Information Bill
 
 
 
 
ARRANGEMENT OF CLAUSES

PART I
ACCESS TO INFORMATION HELD BY PUBLIC AUTHORITIES
Right to information
Clause 
1.General right of access to information held by public authorities.
2.Public authorities.
3.Amendment of Schedule 1.
4.Further power to designate public authorities.
5.Publicly-owned companies.
6.Public authorities to which Act has limited application.
7.Request for information.
8.Fees.
9.Time for compliance with request.
10.Means by which communication to be made.
11.Exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit.
12.Vexatious or repeated requests.

Discretionary disclosures
13.Discretionary disclosures.
14.Fees for discretionary disclosure.

Refusal of request
15.Refusal of request.

The Information Commissioner and the Information Tribunal
16.The Information Commissioner and the Information Tribunal.

Publication schemes
17.Publication schemes.
18.Model publication schemes.

PART II
EXEMPT INFORMATION
19.Information accessible to public by other means.
20.Information intended for future publication.
21.Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters.
22.National security.
23.Certificates under ss. 21 and 22: supplementary provisions.
24.Defence.
25.International relations.
26.Relations within the United Kingdom.
27.The economy.
28.Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities.
29.Law enforcement.
30.Court records, etc.
31.Audit functions.
32.Parliamentary privilege.
33.Formulation of government policy, etc.
34.Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs.
35.Communications with Her Majesty, etc. and honours.
36.Health and safety.
37.Environmental information.
38.Personal information.
39.Information provided in confidence.
40.Legal professional privilege.
41.Commercial interests.
42.Prohibitions on disclosure.
43.Power to confer additional exemptions by order.

PART III
GENERAL FUNCTIONS OF SECRETARY OF STATE, LORD CHANCELLOR AND INFORMATION COMMISSIONER
44.Issue of code of practice by Secretary of State.
45.Issue of code of practice by Lord Chancellor.
46.General functions of Commissioner.
47.Recommendations as to good practice.
48.Recommendations as to discretionary disclosure.
49.Reports to be laid before Parliament.

PART IV
ENFORCEMENT
50.Application for decision by Commissioner.
51.Information notices.
52.Enforcement notices.
53.Failure to comply with notice.
54.Powers of entry and inspection.
55.No action against public authority.

PART V
APPEALS
56.Appeal against notices served under Part IV.
57.Determination of appeals.
58.Appeals from decision of Tribunal.
59.Appeals against national security certificate.
60.Appeal proceedings.

PART VI
HISTORICAL RECORDS AND RECORDS IN PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE OR PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE OF NORTHERN IRELAND
61.Interpretation of Part VI.
62.Removal of exemptions: historical records generally.
63.Removal of exemptions: historical records in public record offices.
64.Decisions as to refusal of discretionary disclosure of historical records.
65.Decisions as to discretionary disclosure of records in public records offices.
66.Amendments of public records legislation.

PART VII
AMENDMENTS OF DATA PROTECTION ACT 1998
Amendments relating to personal information held by public authorities
67.Extension of meaning of "data".
68.Right of access to unstructured personal data held by public authorities.
69.Exemptions applicable to certain manual data held by public authorities.
70.Particulars registrable under Part III of Data Protection Act 1998.
71.Availability under Act disregarded for purpose of exemption.

Other amendments
72.Further amendments of Data Protection Act 1998.

PART VIII
MISCELLANEOUS AND SUPPLEMENTAL
73.Power to make provision relating to environmental information.
74.Power to amend or repeal enactments prohibiting disclosure of information.
75.Offence of altering etc. records with intent to prevent disclosure.
76.Saving for existing powers.
77.Copyright.
78.Defamation.
79.Scotland.
80.Application to government departments, etc.
81.Orders and regulations.
82.Interpretation.
83.Expenses.
84.Repeals.
85.Commencement.
86.Short title and extent.
 

SCHEDULES:
    Schedule 1-Public authorities.
    Part I-General.
    Part II-Local government.
    Part III-The National Health Service.
    Part IV-Maintained schools and other educational institutions.
    Part V-Police.
    Part VI-Other public bodies and offices: general.
    Part VII-Other public bodies and offices: Northern Ireland.
    Schedule 2-The Commissioner and the Tribunal.
    Part I-Provision consequential on s. 16(1) and (2).
    Part II-Amendments relating to extension of functions of Commissioner and Tribunal.
    Schedule 3-Powers of entry and inspection.
    Schedule 4-Appeal proceedings: amendments of Schedule 6 to Data Protection Act 1998.
    Schedule 5-Amendments of public records legislation.
    Part I-Amendments of Public Records Act 1958.
    Part II-Amendment of Public Records Act (Northern Ireland) 1923.
    Schedule 6-Further amendments of Data Protection Act 1998.
    Schedule 7-Repeals.
    Part I-Repeal coming into force on passing of Act.
    Part II-Repeals coming into force in accordance with section 85(2).
    Part III-Repeals coming into force in accordance with section 85(3).
 


 
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© Parliamentary copyright 1999
Prepared 19 November 1999