Freedom of Information and Subject Access Requests
Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, you have a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, unless particular exemptions apply. The Act aims to improve the openness and transparency of public authorities, and Cafcass is committed to complying with this legislation.
Cafcass publishes a lot of information already so that this is readily available. Please see this in our Publication Scheme, which shows who we are, what we do, and how we do it (‘transparency information’), and our Freedom of Information disclosure logs which shows previous responses given by Cafcass to Freedom of Information requests (with personal data of applicants removed). You may find that your question has already been asked by someone else, and therefore you can see the response already published.
Please note: information contained within any documents available below was correct at the time of the response, but may now be out-of-date and no longer correct.
If the information you would like to see is not already published, you can make an FOI request for this. Please see below for details, or see our Freedom of Information factsheet.
Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 anyone can make a request for information to Cafcass (unless the information falls under one of the specific exemptions in the Act). You have the right to:
- (a) be informed whether Cafcass holds the information specified in your request (unless an exemption applies)
- (b) if that is the case, to have that information communicated to you within 20 working days.
A request needs to be made to the contact details below, giving your name, address, the information/documents you would like to access and the method of access (e.g. hardcopy, e-mail etc.) via email or post:
- [email protected]
- Attn: FOI Administrator, Cafcass National Office, 3rd Floor, 21 Bloomsbury Street, London, WC1B 3HF
Information requested is usually free of charge (i.e. there is no charge by Cafcass, although the user would of course have to meet any charges by their internet service provider, personal printing costs, etc). In some cases if a large volume of information is requested in hard copy we may issue a fees notice for disbursement costs (printing and postage). Cafcass reserves the right not to process applications that cost £450 and more, in keeping with central government provisions. This does not impact on the information listed in the Publication Scheme.
- Our policy is to be as open as possible, but we may withhold information if we consider an exemption applies. If we refuse to supply all or part of any information you have asked for we will write to you giving our reasons for refusal. The reasons will be based on the exempted categories under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
If you are unhappy with the way in which your request was handled you can request an internal review. A senior member of staff who was not party to the original decision on whether to release the information will review the manner in which the request was dealt and will either uphold or overturn the original decision.
The Act also provides for an appeal mechanism whereby you may apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision as to whether we dealt with a specified request in accordance with the Act. This can be done via [email protected] or Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.
- If the information you would like to see is your own personal information, this is known as a Subject Access Request (SAR). Please see our Subject Access Request factsheet for more information about what this is and how to make one.
- To see how Cafcass handles your personal information, please see our Privacy Notice.
A request for access to personal data is known as a Subject Access Request (SAR). You have a statutory right of access to personal data about yourself under the Data Protection Act 1998, although certain exemptions apply. The right of access is to personal data held on computer or on structured manual files and you are entitled to be informed whether any personal data concerning yourself is being held by the “data controller” i.e., Cafcass, and, if so:
- to be given a description of the data in question
- to be told for what purposes the data is processed
- to be told of the recipients or classes of recipients to whom the data is or may be disclosed.
A SAR must be dealt with promptly and, in any event, within 40 days of receipt of the request together with the necessary documentation. A SAR request needs to be made in writing to the Customer Services Team via email or post:
- [email protected]
- Attn: Cafcass Customer Services Team – SAR, National Business Centre, Milburn Hill Road, University of Warwick Science Park, Coventry, CV4 7JJ
Cafcass usually charges a fee of £10 per person, and will also need to see proof of ID and proof of residence. It can also be helpful if you specify whether there is particular information you are hoping to access. For more information please see our Subject Access Request factsheet or our Subject Access Request policy.
Summaries and categories of requests have been added to aid searches for information, although these categories are necessarily broad and may not cover all […]
Summaries and categories of requests have been added to aid searches for information, although these categories are necessarily broad and may not cover all of […]