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Freedom of Information Act in Practice: 2008

The Freedom of Information Act gives companies and individuals important powers to request information from public bodies. Are you equipped to take advantage and to protect yourself?



  • Do you want to know how to use the Act to obtain information about your own competitors?
  • Are you worried about making your contracts fully confidential?

These and many other issues are expertly dealt with in this valuable new report.

This report shows how businesses can ensure that they don’t disclose information inadvertently and how to protect their own information by drafting new contracts in the right way. Susan Singleton has advised many clients in all sectors on the FOIA from a practical standpoint.

What this report covers

  • A full description of the FOI Act – in particular the right of access to information
  • Exceptions and exclusions
  • Protecting your confidential information
  • Clauses for contracts
  • Guidance from the Information Commissioner on commercial issues, confidentiality, tenders and professional privilege matters

Who is this report written for?

  • All businesses involved in public sector contracts and tenders
  • Local authorities and all other public sector bodies
  • In-company lawyers and solicitors in private practice
  • Procurement and purchasing managers
  • Journalists
  • Politicians in government at all levels


1. Introduction
** Ten top tips from the Information Commissioner’s Office for public authorities
** Complaints
** Effects
** Freedom of Information: 4,000 requests in the first month
** Aims of the report

2. The Freedom of Information Act – basics
** Publication schemes
** Contents of a scheme
** General right of access
** Exemptions
** Complaints
** Public authority?
** Information held on behalf of a third party
** Non-official information
** Codes of Practice
** Fees: charging for Freedom of Information
** Timing
** Statutory prohibitions on disclosure

Appendices to Chapter 2
** Provisions in the Freedom of Information (Removal and Relaxation of Statutory Prohibitions on Disclosure of Information) Order 2004 (SI 2004/3363)
** The S45 Code of Practice
** The S46 Code of Practice

3. Exemptions and commercial contract issues
** Commercial and Contract Information and the FOIA
** New contracts
** Existing contracts
** Practical advice
** Wording for contracts
** Appendices to report
** Freedom of Information Act Awareness
** Records management FAQs
** Casework guidance
** Factsheet: what does it mean for you?

The author

Susan Singleton is a solicitor with her own firm, Singletons, and specialises in competition law, IP law, IT/e-commerce and general commercial law, and is listed by Chambers Legal Directory as one of the UK’s leading IT lawyers. She is the author of over 30 books on topics such as internet and e-commerce law, data protection law and intellectual property.

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