There is estimated to be around 120,000 UK bodies that are covered by the Freedom of Information Act.
The bodies that are covered are classed as public (and local) authorities. The Act does not describe what a public authority is, but they are generally bodies that are mostly funded with public money (ie tax revenue).
Schedule 1 of the Act details all authorities that are covered by the Act. The bodies that are covered by the Act can be changed at any time by government ministers, but a general list of the main authorities that are covered is below.
The following types of bodies are considered to be public authorities under the Act:
- Government departments
- Government agencies (such as the DVLA, or UK Border Force)
- Councils (including parish, district, borough, county)
- Health Authorities (all NHS bodies)
- Fire Authorities
- Police and Crime Commissioner’s
- Museums and galleries
- Schools and academies
- Publicly owned companies
Not covered by the Act
There are unfortunately an array of publicly funded authorities that are not covered by the Act for public protection or for State funded privacy.
- GCHQ, MI5, MI6
- The Queen and other royals
- Individual MPs or councillors
- Housing Associations
Part covered by the Act
Some bodies that are covered by the Act are not covered in all respects. This means that they are only covered by the Act in terms of certain information.
The BBC, for example, is not covered by the FOI Act for matters that relate to journalism, literature and art. This area of non-coverage allows for the protection of individual journalistic sources and information that is used to create the BBC’s output.
- The Bank of England
- Channel Four
- Traffic Commissioners
- Houses of Parliament