Freedom of Information
For details of the information we publish or must provide to the public on request, please see our guidance Freedom of Information - Ofsted Publication Scheme. Before making a request for information, it is worth checking whether we already publish the information you are seeking.
We often receive requests for the following already available information:
Requests for information which is not already published are dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act. For details of how to make a request, please see below.
Making a request
In order for your request to qualify under the Act, it must be made in writing. When you make your request, please provide your name, a means to contact you in writing (either your postal or email address), and details of the information you seek. A contact telephone number would also be helpful, in case we need to contact you to discuss your request. Please be as specific as possible about the information you are requesting. If your request is unclear or too general, we may need to contact you for further details, or we may be unable to process your request.
Can I see all the information that Ofsted holds?
Some information may be subject to exemptions that are written into the Act. This includes information that is ‘reasonably accessible’ elsewhere: for example, within the Publication Scheme or on the Ofsted website. Some other examples of information that may be exempt are: information we intend to publish in the future (e.g. updated statistics); parts of school inspection evidence; personal data about other people; information we have obtained in confidence (e.g. from complainants); and information relating to regulatory enforcement action.
The Act does not take account of who the requester is or the purpose for which the information is sought. The decision about what information to disclose to you in response your request can only be made by considering whether the information can be provided to any member of the public at this time. This means that we will not be able take into account your closer interest in the information if, for example, you are the provider of a registered setting or an individual who has raised concerns with us. In response to a request made under the FOI Act, you can be provided only what any other member of the public can be provided at this time. This does not impact upon your ability to continue further separate dialogue with Ofsted about any queries or concerns you may have. General contact details and information on how to make a complaint can be found here.
Can I request information Ofsted holds about me?
Yes, although this information is exempt from disclosure to the public under the Act as there is a separate right of access provided by the Data Protection Act. For details of how to request your own personal data, including the notes from your lesson observation if you are a teacher go to the Data Protection Act page.
Can I see the evidence from a particular inspection?
We will not generally disclose inspection evidence to the public until the inspection has been completed, the report published and the period in which the judgement may be subject to challenge has passed. Once this period has passed we can consider disclosure, however some information will remain exempt, particularly the personal data of staff, children and other individuals.
Can I have information about a children’s social care setting?
Information about children’s homes, residential family centres, independent fostering agencies, adoption support agencies and voluntary adoption agencies is specifically excluded from the general right of access provided by the Freedom of Information Act. While we are able to accept requests for information about these types of provision (outside of the Act), the information we would be able to provide is very limited.
Will making a request cost anything?
There won’t be any charge for supplying information. However, if your request is for a large amount of information, or for information which is difficult to extract, and it will cost more than the limits set out in the Act to provide it, we can refuse the request. Where cost is an issue, we will contact you so you can choose whether you wish to modify your request.
How long will it take?
Usually our response to your request will be sent to you within 20 working days. It may take longer if we need to clarify your request or discuss cost with you, or if the information you have requested is exempt and we need more time to consider whether it is in the public interest to disclose it. If your request is delayed for any reason, we will keep you informed of how we are progressing and, as far as possible, give you an expected date for your response.
Who do I contact?
If you don’t already have the name of someone to contact at Ofsted, you can email your request to email@example.com or post it to:
Information Management Team
About the Freedom of Information Act
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 came into force on 1 January 2005. It gives greater access to information held by all public organisations, and local and central government, including Ofsted, and lets you find out more about what they do, how they arrive at decisions and how they spend public money.
The Freedom of Information Act gives any person the right to ask for official information from public authorities.
We must deal with any request for information which may be held in our records, and which is not released as part of our routine business, in accordance with the Act. You may request any information we hold, regardless of how old it is. Information requested must be provided to you if we hold it, unless one of the exemptions in the Act applies.
The Act can be found on legislation.gov.uk.