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Individuals can request access to information by:
Requests for access must be made in writing and they must include your name, an address for correspondence and a description of the information you would like to see. Applicants are reminded that individual Members of Parliament are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) and information that is held by the House of Commons Service on behalf of MPs does not fall within the scope of the FOIA or the EIR.
The Information Rights and Information Security (IRIS) Service provides advice and guidance to staff of the House of Commons Service on handling requests under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR). The IRIS Service is also responsible for maintaining a log of all enquiries handled formally by the House of Commons Service under the FOIA and the EIR.
Information Rights and Information Security team (020 7219 8805)
The policy of the House of Commons Service is to respond to most requests on a business-as-usual basis, although all written requests must also be dealt with according to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR). This means that they should be dealt with helpfully, promptly, and within 20 working days of receipt.
If staff are absent, they should ensure their official mail is opened and that Out of Office messages give an alternative email address. Generic email addresses should be checked regularly.
Some requests for information will require more formal treatment. The IRIS Service should be informed if any of the following conditions apply:
The IRIS service should be promptly provided with a copy of a request when it is received and a copy of the response, once agreed, should also be forwarded to them. The IRIS Service does not routinely log details of simple requests which are dealt with as part of normal business processes. However, the IRIS Service should be contacted if there is any doubt. They may consult with the Office of Speaker's Counsel and the Clerk of the Journals.
Whilst the following guidance is aimed at staff of the House of Commons Service, it also provides useful information for applicants seeking to understand the process that is followed in response to a request for information and an appeal against a response to a request for information.