Before making a Freedom of Information (FOI) request
There's already a lot of information we make available. You may find the answer to your question online before you make a request.
We publish anonymised requests and responses on our website. Once information is issued to you in response to your FOI request, it is then considered to be publicly available.
Information we publish online may be treated as exempt under Article 23 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011.
If the information you’re requesting is already publicly available, your request may be refused.
If we can, we’ll point you in the direction of where the information you need can be found.
Freedom of Information requests and responses
Public information resources
Making sure your request is valid under FOI law
You must make your Freedom of Information request in writing.
You must provide:
- your full name
- a contact address (such as an email address or a postal address)
- a clear description of the information you want to receive
You don't have to tell us why you want the information.
What you can ask for
You can make Freedom of Information (FOI) requests about any aspects of the States of Jersey and our work, eg:
- government spending<
- numbers and statistics
FOI covers all information held by the States of Jersey.
We can give all information except requests for personal information about yourself.
You can make a 'subject access' request if you want information about yourself.
If the information refers to someone else, the FOI law will you give you access to the information if it meets with the data protection law.
Data Protection factsheet on the Office of the Information Commissioner website
Asking for information in a particular format
We'll aim to give you the information in a format that will allow you to access it easily. We cannot create bespoke documents or provide the information in less common file types.
Information is not kept forever, but some of it is kept for a long time. States of Jersey departments maintain a list of what information they need to keep and how long it must be kept for.
These are maintained in line with any legislation and standards that relate to information eg keeping financial records for audit purposes. Some public information is also passed to the Jersey Archive for safe-keeping or preservation.
Information may not be kept forever because:
- it would be too costly to store and maintain
- the more information that is kept, the harder it may be to identify specific information when someone needs it
How to make an FOI request
If you’re requesting information under FOI, you must make your request in writing. The easiest way to do this is by filling in our online form.
Complete the FOI form
You can also email or write to us.
Writing your request
When writing your FOI request, be as specific as you can.
This will help us to identify the information you want and reduce the chance of your request being misinterpreted.
State the precise time period for the information you want.
We may refuse your request if the information you ask for covers a long period of time as it could take us too much time to respond.
Try to keep your request clear and objective. This will help us understand what you're asking for and process your request more efficiently.
Aim for one question per request
Try to ask only one question in a request rather than asking several questions.
Asking for lots of different information can make it difficult for us to understand what you really want to know.
We can help
If you need help with writing your FOI request, there are a number of things you can do:
- send us an email with your name, postal address and phone number. We'll call you and ask you to tell us your request. We'll write this request down and return this to you for confirmation, before we answer it
- ask a friend or relative or someone from your local community to help you use our online form
You may also be able to get help from the Jersey Citizens Advice Bureau.
Jersey Citizens Advice Bureau website
Email the Jersey Citizens Advice Bureau
Why we need your name and contact address
We need your name and contact details so we can process your information request. FOI legislation requires that you give us a name and correspondence address when you make an FOI request.
What we do with the personal information you provide
The personal information you provide will be processed by the Central Freedom of Information (FOI) Unit (Chief Minister's Department) of the States of Jersey, in accordance with the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2005 for all purposes associated with the administration of requests received under the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011, including the monitoring of communications to check for compliance with any relevant policies and legislation.
Your request, including your personal information, will be passed to the Freedom of Information staff authorised to handle your request in the relevant States of Jersey department.
In order to respond to your request, your request will then be anonymised and passed to the relevant business area that may hold the information you have asked for.
Information will not be passed to any other third party without your prior consent.
Do you have to pay to make an FOI request?
You don't need to pay to make an FOI request.
Your FOI request may be refused under FOI legislation if we estimate that it will take us more than 12 and a half hours to answer. This is called the cost limit. If we think it will take fewer than 12 and a half hours, your request will be answered free of charge.
The FOI law recognises that there has to be a limit on the amount of time and staff resources we can spend answering an FOI request.
This has been set under the FOI legislation at 12 and a half hours.
If the information you ask for is very complex, covers a broad period of time or has various questions within the same request, this may mean that it could take longer than 12 and a half hours to answer.
If we estimate that your request will take longer than 12 and a half hours, we can refuse your request under the FOI law. However, we may contact you to help you refine your information request so that it will take us less than 12 and a half hours to answer.
Organisations under FOI law from 2015
The following States of Jersey departments come under FOI legislation from January 2015:
- Chief Minister's Department
- Department of the Environment
- Department for Infrastructure
- Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture Department
- Education Department
- Health and Social Services Department
- Home Affairs Department
- Social Security Department
- Treasury and Resources Department
The following government bodies* also come under FOI legislation from January 2015:
- States of Jersey Police
- States Assembly (including States Greffe)
- Judicial Greffe
- Viscount's Department
*these bodies are established by a resolution of the States, or by or in accordance with standing orders of the States Assembly.
From September 2015, all 12 Jersey parishes come under FOI legislation.
When we may refuse your request
We may refuse your FOI request and not release information if:
- it could prejudice a criminal investigation
- it could endanger national security or it is, or relates to, information received from intelligence organisations
- it contains personal information
- you don't make your request in writing or fail to provide a name and contact address
- your information request is intended to cause administrative difficulty (a vexatious request)
Find out more about exemptions under FOI legislation on the Our response to your FOI request page.
Our response to your FOI request