Records Management

Writing the response

Procedures for all staff for writing a response to a freedom of information request where you are providing all of the requested information, or where the information is easily accessible to the public, for example through the University website.

1. Check the information prior to disclosure

  • Is the information accurate?
  • Does the information answer all of the applicant's questions?
  • Is the information formatted professionally and appropriately?
  • Are you sure that there is no hidden data?

Hidden data

Hidden data is data which might not be immediately visible when you view a document, but it may be possible for other people to view or retrieve the information.

Be cautious with spreadsheets. Make sure you don't accidentally release information because it is hidden behind a filter, or a pivot table.

Microsoft Office products have functionality that helps you to remove hidden data, if you press F1 for help and type "remove hidden data" in the search bar you can find the relevant guidance.

2. Use the letter template

FOI response letter template

Download the letter template

[scald=16318:sdl_editor_representation {"caption":"Model letter template"}]

This letter template is suitable for responding to requests where:

  • You are releasing all of requested the information
  • The requested information is easily available through the University website, a published book or the University's publication scheme

You must include the right to review statement. This is a legal requirement.

If you refer to information which is information readily accessible, for example on the University website or a published book, you must also include the paragraph on the technical exemption.

Your response should also be professionally and appropriately presented. For this reason we recommend using your business unit's letterhead.

If the request you are answering is more complex than this or you need help using the template, please contact your local practitioner for advice in the first instance.

Further advice and a more detailed version of the model text is available for practitioners on our wiki page. Please see: