This page sets out statistics showing the number of Freedom of Information requests we've received and how we have responded.

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and response

The Financial Ombudsman Service has been subject to the Freedom of Information Act since November 2011. Our publication scheme provides a guide to the information that's available without the need to make a specific written request and we also publish statistical information about the requests we handle and how we respond.

The following table shows the number of requests we've handled and how we responded. We add information and update the table each quarter.

Statistics for 2021/22  

 

Q1 April to June

Q2 July to Sept

Overview   

Number of FOI requests which were due to be responded to

104

97 

Percentage of FOIs responded to on time

72% 61% 

Percentage of FOIs responded to after the deadline

28% 29% 

Percentage of requests which remain outstanding

0% 10% 

 

 

 

How we responded    

Percentage of requests where the information wasn't held

7% 10% 

Percentage of requests where the information was provided in full

32% 39% 

Percentage of requests where the information was provided in part

15% 16% 

Percentage of requests where the information requested was refused

46% 28% 

 

 

 

Number of times we applied the following exemptions to requests we responded to in part or where the information was refused   

Section 40(1) – own personal data 

13  13

Section 40(2) – personal data of others 

6 6

Section 12 – cost exemption

23

Other exemptions

12 13 

 

 

 

Review   

Number of internal reviews

3  9

 

Applying exemptions

We aim to be as open and transparent as possible about the work we do, but there are times where it isn’t appropriate for us to share the information we hold in response to a Freedom of Information request. Where this is the case, we may apply an exemption. The Freedom of Information Act contains a number of exemptions that allow organisations to withhold information from a requestor. In some cases it allows organisations to refuse to confirm or deny whether they hold information.

In some circumstances, we will apply an exemption to part of a request or sometimes we may apply an exemption to the whole of a request. Sometimes we apply more than one exemption to a single request. You can read more about exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act on the Information Commissioner's website.

 

About the exemptions we applied in Q1 (April-June) 2021

The most common exemption applied in this quarter was section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Section 12 means that we aren't able to provide the information because the time taken to find, locate or retrieve the information is likely to exceed the appropriate limit set out in the legislation, which for us is 18 hours.

Whenever we apply this exemption, we always try to provide the requestor with information that they may find helpful, as we already publish a lot of detail about what we do. For example, information on our website about our approach to the different types of complaints we see, or our database of ombudsman decisions where they can search for specific decisions we've published in relation to their area of interest. 

The second most common exemption applied this quarter was section 40(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Applying section 40(1) means that we aren't able to provide the information because it relates to the requester's personal information. This is exempt because information released under the Act must be suitable for the public to see and because individuals have the right to obtain information about themselves through the Data Protection Act 2018 by making a subject access request.

About the exemptions we applied in Q2 (July-September) 2021

The most common exemption applied this quarter was section 40(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Applying section 40(1) means that we aren't able to provide the information because it relates to the requester's personal information. This is exempt because information released under the Act must be suitable for the public to see and because individuals have the right to obtain information about themselves through the Data Protection Act 2018 by making a subject access request. 

The second most common exemption applied was section 40(2). Section 40(2) means that we aren't able to provide the information because it relates to the personal information of third parties, such as staff members and other consumers, where releasing the information would breach one of the data protection principles. 

Statistics from previous years

  •  

     

    Q1

    Q2

    Q3

    Q4

    2020/21 total

    Overview   

    Number of FOI requests which were due to be responded to

    88

    141   123 103  455

    Percentage of FOIs responded to on time

    74% 89%  89% 92%  86%

    Percentage of FOIs responded to after the deadline

    26% 11%  11% 8%  14%

    Percentage of requests which remain outstanding

    0% 0%  0%  0%  0%

     

     

     

     

       

    How we responded    

    Percentage of requests where the information wasn't held

    8% 6%  10%  10%  9%

    Percentage of requests where the information was provided in full

    44% 37%  28%  35%  36%

    Percentage of requests where the information was provided in part

    13% 6%  19%  11%  12%

    Percentage of requests where the information requested was refused

    35% 51%  43%  45%  43%

     

     

     

     

       

    Number of times we applied the following exemptions to requests we responded to in part or where the information was refused   

    Section 40(1) – own personal data 

    17  14 32  24  87

    Section 40(2) – personal data of others 

    9 12  33

    Section 12 – cost exemption

    8 16  29  22  75

    Other exemptions

    13 73  101

     

     

     

     

       

    Review   

    Number of internal reviews

    7  8 6 27

     

    About the exemptions in 2020/21

    The most common exemption applied was section 8 and 14 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Applying section 8 means a request is not valid, because the requestor didn't give us a valid address to respond to, didn't use their real name or doesn't describe the information requested. Individuals can only ask for information held in a recorded format, not for opinion or commentary. Applying section 14 means the request is considered vexatious or is a repeated request. These exemptions were applied to one individual who made multiple requests and was not using the Act for the purpose it was intended. 

    The second most common exemption applied over the year was section 40 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This means that an individual asked for a copy of their own personal data under the Freedom of Information Act, we did then process their request in line with our data protection obligations. 


  •  

    Q1

    Q2

    Q3

    Q4

    2019/20 total

    Overview   

    Number of FOI requests which were due to be responded to

    107

    109

    122

    117

    455

    Percentage of FOIs responded to on time

    65%

    72%

    57%

    82%

    69%

    Percentage of FOIs responded to after the deadline

    35%

    28%

    43% 

    18%

    31%

    Percentage of requests which remain outstanding

    0%

    0%

    0% 

    0%

    0%

     

     

     

     

       

    How we responded    

    Percentage of requests where the information wasn't held

    7%

    5%

    4% 

    3%

    5%

    Percentage of requests where the information was provided in full

    43%

    40%

    31% 

    34%

    37%

    Percentage of requests where the information was provided in part

    20%

    21%

    17% 

    25%

    21%

    Percentage of requests where the information requested was refused

    30%

    34%

    48% 

    38%

    37%

     

     

     

     

       

    Number of times we applied the following exemptions to requests we responded to in part or where the information was refused   

    Section 40(1) – own personal data 

    22

    18

    20 

    11

    71%

    Section 8 or 14 – not a valid request or vexatious 

    3

    11

    65

    23

    102

    Section 12 – cost exemption

    17

    20

    24

    70

    Other exemptions

    49

    27

    14 

    28

    118

     

     

     

     

       

    Review   

    Number of internal reviews

    6

    4

    36 

    25

    71

     

    About the exemptions in 2019/20

    We always try to help as much as we can and be open and transparent about the work we do, but, it isn't always appropriate to share the information we hold to the public at large. Where this is the case we may apply an exemption. Sometimes we may apply an exemption to part of a request or sometimes we may apply an exemption to the whole of the request. 

    The most common exemption applied overall in 2019/20 was section 8 and 14 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Applying section 8 means a request is not valid, because the requestor didn't give us a valid address to respond to, didn't use their real name or doesn't describe the information requested. Individuals can only ask for information held in a recorded format, not for opinion or commentary. Applying section 14 means the request is considered vexatious or is a repeated request. This exemption was applied to one individual who made multiple request and was not using the Act for the purpose it was intended. 

    The second most common exemption applied over the year was section 40(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This means that an individual asked for a copy of their own personal data under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 rather than under data protection legislation. Whilst we refuse these requests in full under the Freedom of Information Act, we did then process their request in line with our data protection obligations.