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Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives a right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities. Such bodies, including the Royal Air Force Museum, are obliged to disclose information, subject to a range of exemptions.
Anyone can request information, although the request must be made in writing – by letter, email, or by submitting an enquiry form at one of the Museum’s sites. Applicants have two related rights:
- The right to be told whether the information exists
- The right to receive the information, where possible in the manner requested
In some cases where information is exempt from disclosure, the Museum is required to consider whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption in question outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
The Museum must normally respond and provide the information which has been requested within 20 working days, unless access to that information is prohibited by one of the exemptions specified in the Act.
Section 19 of the Act requires authorities to issue Publication Schemes – a document setting out the classes of information which the authority publishes or intends to publish, and the manner in which they will be published. The RAF Museum’s scheme follows the model publication scheme prepared by the Information Commissioner, which can be seen on the Information Commissioner’s website.
With a few exceptions, the information which the RAF Museum publishes, and which falls within the broad classes of information in the model publication scheme, is available online via this website.
Information in an electronic form can be downloaded from the Museum’s website free of charge. For those unable to access the website, a single print-out as on the website is available from the Museum’s general enquiry address. However, requests for multiple print-outs, for copies of documents no longer available on the website, or for hard-copy publications which are normally available for purchase only, may attract a charge. Applicants will be informed if a cost is involved at the time a request is made.
Documents which have been superseded, or which are more than a few years old, and are no longer on the website, may normally be consulted by appointment in the Museum’s reading room.
You may reproduce information published on the website that has been generated by the Museum in line with the model publication scheme, only for the purposes of information and personal study.
Where copyright is held by a third party you must obtain their permission before reproducing information.
How to make a request for information
If the information you are seeking is not included in the Publication Scheme you may submit an enquiry. This must be done in writing, to:
Freedom of Information
Royal Air Force Museum London
Grahame Park Way
Please provide as much detail as possible to enable Museum staff to identify the information sought. If you require the information in a particular format, for example, by email, as a photocopy or on disk, this should also be stated in your application. If you have difficulty in identifying the precise information you require, or difficulty in making the application in writing, Museum staff will be pleased to help.
Some information may be exempt from disclosure under the terms of the Act. Exemptions include:
- Information that is accessible by other means (for example, published material held in libraries)
- Information that will be published at a future date (such as financial details that will appear in the annual accounts)
- Personal information
- Information provided to the Museum in confidence
- Information that would harm anyone’s commercial interests.
If the Museum is unable to disclose some or all of the information which has been requested, the reasons for non-disclosure will be explained to the applicant.
In most cases the information will be provided free of charge, but where it is estimated that the staff time required to process the request is more than 18 hours the Museum may charge a fee, or refuse to answer the request.
If answering the request involves providing a significant number of photocopies a charge will be made. Payment of fees and photocopying charges must be received in advance, and the 20-day response period is suspended until the invoice has been paid.
If you are dissatisfied with the response you have had from the Museum in respect of a request for information you may invoke the appeals and complaints procedure. The first step is to seek an internal review of the decision you have received. Requests for internal review should be submitted in writing to the Director of Finance and Resources via our London site:
Grahame Park Way
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome or the handling of the internal review conducted by the Museum you may seek an independent review from the Information Commissioner.
Requests for a review by the Information Commissioner should be made in writing directly to:
The Information Commissioner
Tel: +44 (0)1625 545700
Fax: +44 (0)1625 524510