The Act was granted Royal Assent on 1 May 2012. Tim Pitt-Payne posted about it back in February 2011, when the Bill was introduced.

In its final form, it includes Parts on:

  • the regulation of biometric data;
  • the regulation of surveillance;
  • the protection of property from disproportionate enforcement action;
  • counter-terrorism powers;
  • safeguarding vulnerable groups, criminal records etc; and
  • freedom of information and data protection.

The key change to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is a new approach for requests for data-sets. The new Act amends sections 11, 19 and 45 FOIA and inserts new sections 11A and 11B FOIA. The changes are discussed in this article on one of the Guardian’s blogs.

Other changes include:

  • an amendment to the definition in section 6 FOIA of a publicly-owned company;
  • the extension of certain provisions of FOIA to Northern Ireland bodies;
  • an increase in the maximum term of appointment of the Information Commissioner from five years to seven years and amendments to the provisions for his/her removal;
  • changes to the role of the Secretary of State in relation to the Information Commissioner’s guidance powers; and
  • the Secretary of State’s consent is no longer required before the Information Commissioner can exercise his/her fee-charging powers or in relation to various matters concerning staff.

Rachel Kamm, 11KBW