This page contains more than 20 free to use templates for making Freedom of Information (FOI) requests in the UK. The templates are all designed to maximise the chances of information being released.

General templates Special templates
  1. Agreements and contracts
  2. Amount spent on X
  3. Consultation response
  4. Correspondence (general)
  5. Correspondence – lobbying by an industry
  6. Document (where you know what it is called)
  7. List (general)
  8. List of assets
  9. Minutes of a committee
  10. Minutes and papers of a committee
  11. Photographs
  12. Policies and procedures
  13. Publication scheme
  14. Report
  1. Confidential annex to an ICO Decision Notice
  2. Constitution of a registered charity
  3. Expenditure data
  4. Funding of other organisations
  5. If asked (press lines)
  6. Information ordered to be released
  7. Library catalogue
  8. Minutes of the board meeting of a state owned company
  9. Order in Council
  10. Shares held
  11. Trial balance


Agreements and contracts
Dear [name of public body],
Please provide me with copies of all contracts or agreements (formal or informal) between the [public body] and the [name of company, group or organisation].

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]


Amount spent on X
Dear [name of public body],
Please tell me how much [name of public body] spent on [X] in each of the last two financial years.

If for any reason you are not able to then please let me know the total value of purchase invoices
accounted for each known supplier of bottled water and provide me with estimated figures.

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]

Note: You could replace X with almost anything e.g. “bottled water”, “alcohol”, “fireworks”, “external consultancy services”.


Consultation response

Dear [name of public body],
Please provide me a copy of the response from [name of company/organisation] to the consultation on [subject matter] in [year].

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]


Correspondence (general)

Dear [name of public body],
Please provide me a copy of all correspondence between the [name of public body] and [name of company, group or organisation], its agents and representatives in the last 12 months.

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]


Correspondence – lobbying by an industry

Dear [name of public body],
Please provide me with all correspondence from businesses in the [name of industry] industry to the [public body] in the last three months. Please include correspondence from persons or groups representing one or more businesses in the industry.

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]


Document (where you know what it is called)

Dear [name of public body],
Please provide me with a copy of the [name of document].

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]

Note: for example you could request the “current risk register”.


List (general)

Dear [name of public body],
Please provide me a list of all [describe the items you expect to see on the list].

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]

Real example: request, information released


List of assets

Dear [name of public body],
Please could you provide me with a list of non-current assets held by the [name of public body] as at the end of its last financial year. Please include the name/description and book value of each asset.

Please also include a brief description of types of non-current assets not given a value in the accounts of the [name of public body].

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]


Minutes of a committee

Dear [name of public body]
Please provide me with the minutes of the last ten meetings of the [name of committee].

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]

Real example: request, information released, more information released.


Minutes and papers of a committee

Dear [name of public body]
Please provide me with the minutes, agenda and papers for the last five meetings of the [name of committee].

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]


Photographs

Dear [name of public body],
Please provide me with copies of the most recent photograph held of [name of person or object].

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]


Policies and procedures

Dear [name of public body],
Please provide me with a copy of all policies and procedures relevant to [subject matter].

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]


Publication scheme

Dear [name of public body],
Please provide me with a copy of the most recently approved publication scheme.

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]


Report

Dear [name of public body],
Please provide me with the report by [name] on [subject matter] prepared in [month] [year].

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]


SPECIAL TEMPLATES

Only a small number of FOI requestors will benefit from these templates but I still thought it was worth publishing them.


Confidential annex to an ICO Decision Notice

Dear Information Commissioner,
Please can you send me a copy of the confidential annex to the ICO Decision notice FS[reference number].

Yours faithfully,
[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]


Constitution of a registered charity

Dear Charity Commission for England and Wales,
Please can you provide me with the latest version of the [name of registered charity]‘s (registered charity number: [number]) constitution held by the Charity Commission.

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]


Expenditure data

Dear [name of public body],
Please can you provide me with [name of public body]‘s expenditure data for payments over £500 in [Excel/CSV] format. Please provide data for
the period between January 2011 and December 2013.

Please interpret transaction data in line with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) publication “The Code of Recommended Practice for Local Authorities on Data Transparency”.

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]

Real example: request, information released


Funding of other organisations

Dear [name of public body],
Please could you provide me with a list of external organisations receiving funding from the public body during the calendar year [year] together with the amount provided to each.

Please interpret “funding” to include, allocations of cash, grants, donations, subscriptions and similar funding arrangements. Please interpret “organisation” to include all types of charities, businesses, associations, public bodies and all other types of legal entity.

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]


If asked (press lines)
Use this template to ask for material prepared by press officers in case they receive an enquiry from the media (many of these press lines are never used).

Dear [name of public body],
Please can you send me copies of all press lines prepared in the last twelve months including those never provided to the media (sometimes called “If asked lines”).

Yours faithfully,
[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]



Information ordered to be released
Use this template to ask for information that the ICO has ordered the public body to release to someone else.

Dear [name of public body],
Please can you send me a copy of all the documents that [name of public body] was ordered to release to the complainant by the ICO Decision notice FS[reference number].

Yours faithfully,
[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]


Library catalogue

Dear [name of public body],
Please can you send me a copy of the [name of public body] library
catalogue or catalogues in [Excel/CSV] format.

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]

Real example: request, information released


Minutes of the board meeting of a state owned company

Dear [name of company],
Please provide me with the minutes of the last ten meetings of the board of directors.

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]


Order in Council

Dear Privy Council Office,
Please provide me with a copy of the Order in Council dated [day] [month] [year] related to [subject matter].

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]


Shares held

Dear [name of public body],
Please can you provide me with a list of the legal names of the companies in which [name of public authority] hold shares. Please provide the nominal value of each share and the number of shares held of each class (e.g. 50 £1 Ordinary shares).
Where [name of public authority] holds 20% or more of the company’s total share capital please provide the percentage of share capital held by [name of public authority].

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]


Trial balance

Dear [name of public body],
Please can you provide me with the trial balance used to prepare the most recently approved annual financial statements.

By trial balance I mean “A statement of all the open debit and credit items in a double-entry ledger, made to test their equality.” It should be able to export one from the main accounting system if the one used to prepare the financial statements was not retained.

Yours faithfully,

[Mr/Mrs/Ms] [surname]

Real example: request, information released


Additional wording for requests to Scottish public authorities
Please interpret requests for documents as being requests for all the information contained in the documents, including formatting information.


Can’t find what you are looking for

If you can’t find what you are looking for in the list above please tweet me @confirmordeny. As a general rule if you begin your request with the words “Please provide me with” you are well on the way to making a valid and succinct FOI request.


Good FOI requests
An FOI request should just be an email or letter requesting information held by a public body. There are no magic words needed to make a request valid. You don’t need to mention the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and you don’t even have to mention the law. In fact it is possible to make a valid FOI request without even knowing that such a law exists. Often the short requests are the best for example one request I made was about 24 words long and it worked fine.


Why these templates were created
I have seen a number of cases where people have asked questions that public bodies deem not to be valid FOI requests which could easily have been reworded as valid and useful FOI requests. In addition, people are often unaware of what they can request under FOI. I have now come to the conclusion that publishing a list of very short templates (or pro forma) could save requestors and public bodies a lot of time.

These templates are based on more than five years experience of making FOI requests and advising other requestors.


Other request templates
FOI Directory also publish FOI request templates.


Feedback welcome
I am happy to accept suggestions for additions and improvements. Please contact me here: @confirmordeny.



Public Domain Mark

This work (Free FOI request templates, by confirmordeny), identified by confirmordeny, is free of known copyright restrictions.


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