The Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides public access to information held by public authorities. The Act does this in two ways:
- The requirement for the local authority to publish and maintain a publication scheme (a guide to their services and information) and;
- The requirement for the local authority to respond to requests for information and provide a response within twenty working days.
Anyone, including commercial companies, can make a freedom of information request (FOI). Individuals do not have to be a UK citizen, or reside in the UK, in order to make a request for information.