Freedom of Information Act
Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the “Freedom of Information Act” or “FOIA”) provides applicants with a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities. In addition to this, it imposes an obligation on these authorities to produce and maintain a Publication Scheme approved by the independent Information Commissioner, and to publish information covered by the Publication Scheme.
Reclaim Fund Ltd (RFL) is categorised, by its ultimate shareholder HM Treasury as a Non-Department Public Body (NDPB) and aims to be as transparent as possible as set out in our Shareholder Relationship Framework Agreement (Framework Document).
As a limited company wholly owned by HM Treasury, RFL is committed to meeting the Freedom of Information Act requirements set out above. The Governance arrangements for RFL are managed by UK Government Investments (UKGI) on behalf of HM Treasury. The relationship between RFL and UKGI is set out in the Framework Document, the requirements of which all parties must adopt and ensure compliance.
A copy of the Framework Document document can be downloaded here.
Under the FOIA, we are required to have a publication scheme. The model Publication Scheme produced by the Information Commissioners Office (“ICO”) requires a public authority to publish the following seven classes of information:
- Who we are and what we do
- What we spend and how we spend it
- What our priorities are and how we are doing
- How we make decisions
- Our policies and procedures
- Lists and Registers
- The Services we offer
Under Section 19 of the FOIA, all public authorities are required to adopt and maintain a Publication Scheme which makes information readily available to the public without the need for specific requests. The Information Commissioner (IC) recognises public authority websites often act as their publication scheme and we routinely publish information on our website that falls within the categories from the IC’s model publication scheme.
Our Annual Report and Accounts is one of the main sources of information that explains what we do, our priorities, expenditure, and performance, but we regularly publish information on our website about our programmes, case studies, news, and events.
The RFL Publication Scheme follows the model Publication Scheme produced by the ICO. The RFL Annual Report and Accounts are the principal source for strategic information under the first five classes and can be found here. Further information on How to Apply for Information together with our policies and procedures can be found directly below.
Further information about our shareholder is available from the UK Government Investments Limited (“UKGI”) website www.ukgi.org.uk, which includes a Framework Document setting out how UKGI works with HM Treasury and their Investee Companies (including RFL).
How to Apply for Information
Before making a request, you should check whether the information you require is already published – including on the RFL website and in the Annual Report and Accounts.
If you cannot find the information you are looking for you can submit a request by letter to:
Freedom of Information Enquiries
Reclaim Fund Ltd
Alternatively, you can submit your request by emailing us FOIrequests@reclaimfund.co.uk. Please state “Freedom of Information” or “FOIA” as the subject heading as this will ensure that your request is dealt with appropriately.
We are legally permitted 20 working days to respond to a request, from the date we receive it. The exceptions to this are where:
- a qualified exemption applies, and the public interest test needs to be considered; or
- if clarification is required.
RFL will not charge for finding information for requests costing less than £450. However, if we estimate that it would cost more than £450 (18 hours working time) to find the information, we are entitled to refuse the request.
We aim to respond to all FOI requests within 20 working days. When you make a request, we will start to gather the information, unless we need to ask you for clarification, and you should expect to receive the response (‘right to know’ letter) within 20 working days, although this deadline may be extended by a further 20 working days if a public interest test is needed.
We will create a case file for every request received and keep the request and response for 6 years after the request has closed. We reserve the right to publish the request you make and the response we provide, but we will remove your name, contact details and any other information that we believe may identify you.
If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request or are not satisfied with our response, you have the right to ask for an internal review within 2 months (40 working days) of receiving your response. You have the right to complain to us if your request for information is:
- partially denied; or
- if you are otherwise unhappy with the response to your request.
You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), but you must exhaust our internal review process first. Where practical, we will try to resolve your concerns informally by:
- explaining in more detail the grounds for refusal to disclose any or all of the information requested; or
- clarifying the exemption(s) being relied on.
If it is not possible to resolve the complaint informally, we will notify you of your right to begin the Internal Review Process. If you ask us for an Internal Review, we will treat this as a formal complaint subject to the Internal Review Procedure. The following outcomes are possible:
- the original decision is upheld; or
- the original decision is reversed in part or in full; or
- the original decision is modified.
There is no statutory deadline for undertaking internal reviews. In accordance with ICO guidance, we aim to deal with internal reviews within 20 working days. If it is not possible to reach a decision in that time, we will let you know and provide an anticipated timescale for our response.
If you wish to request an internal review, please either email or write to us at the address below:
Freedom of Information Enquiries
Reclaim Fund Ltd
Internal Review Process
Internal Reviews are handled by the Chief Risk Officer or a delegated deputy. They are responsible for reviewing the decision and the material (if held). Other RFL staff may also be involved before reaching a decision. The final decision will be made by:
- the Internal Reviewer; or
- another senior member of staff not involved in the original decision.
As part of the process, we’ll consider whether:
- the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has been properly applied: whether the information requested genuinely falls within the exemption(s) cited and if any balancing of public interests favours non-disclosure;
- there have been any developments since the original response (this will include any points you made when making your complaint);
- it’s possible to provide you with any further information; and
- there are any lessons for handling future cases.
As a result of the review:
- We will tell you if the original decision has changed.
- We will either send you the information requested or let you know the date you may expect it.
- We will let you know the outcome of the review, explaining it and referring to the relevant exemption(s).
- We will also advise you of your right to appeal to the ICO.
As previously written, there is no statutory deadline for undertaking internal reviews. In accordance with ICO guidance, we aim to deal with internal reviews within 20 working days. If it is not possible to reach a decision in that time, we will let you know and provide an anticipated timescale for our response.
Right To Appeal
If you are not content with the outcome of the Internal Review, you also have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and further information is available from the ICO at How to access information from a public body | ICO.