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How to write a Freedom of Information Act Request


You have the right to see recorded information held by public authorities. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act (FOISA) give you the right to see information. 

You can make a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request in writing. You can do this by:

  • letter

  • email

  • social media

  • online form

  • fax

If you cannot make your request in writing because of a disability you should contact the public authority to make the request another way- for example over the phone.

Before you make a Freedom of Information Act request

You might not need to make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request if the organisation has:

  • already published the information*

  • previously responded to an FOI request (you can check this here)

You can also email or phone the organisation to ask if they've already published the information or responded to an FOI request.

* The Good Kennel Guide takes the bother out of animal boarding by publishing a list of which licensing authorities already make information available in a public register, and how to view it. You can see this information in our article How to check an Animal Boarding Licence.

What to include in a Freedom of Information (FOI) request?

You should always make sure that you give:

  • your name

  • a contact postal or email address

  • a detailed description of what you want (for example, a list of licensed animal boarding establishments (home boarders, kennels and catteries) who have been issued a current licence by the licensing authority, the expiry date and rating awarded). You might also want to ask about if X boarding establishment holds a valid licence, the issue and expiry date and rating.

  • Specify the format that you would like to receive the information in (such as via email, audio, paper copy or large print letter). If you want to receive information in a word document, spreadsheet, pdf or other format you should specify this also. 

When will I receive a response to my Freedom of Information (FOI) request?

The organisation should send you the information within 20 working days of receiving the request.  In Scotland, you should allow 6 extra days if you send your request by post. If the organisation requires more time they must advise you of this and let you know when to expect the information to be provided. 

Your information may be shared between organisations if this will help them deal with your enquiry more effectively, for example if you contact a licensing authority where they find a separate licensing authority will handle the specific information you have requested. In this case only your name and request will be shared and no other information will be shared or used for any other purpose.

How much will my Freedom of Information (FOI) request cost?

Most requests are free but you might be asked to pay a small amount for photocopies or postage. The organisation will tell you if have to pay anything to obtain this information.

What can I do if my Freedom of Information (FOI) request is turned down?

Sometimes information that is deemed sensitive is not available to members of the public. If this happens, an organisation must tell you why they cannot give you some or all of the information you requested.

An organisation can refuse your Freedom of Information (FOI) request if getting information will cost more than £450 or £600 if the organisation is based in Scotland.

In both of the above instances they might also ask you to be more specific so they can provide just the information that you need. 

It is also possible that your request will be denied if the information is already publicly available. In which case they should direct you to where you can find this information. 


How can I complain about the handling of my Freedom of Information (FOI) request?

If an organisation does not provide you with the information you requested, you should ask them first to review their decision. 

If you're not satisfied with the organisation's response, you can complain or appeak to the information commissioner for:


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The Good Kennel Guide takes the stress out of dog boarding by only listing licensed kennels and boarders who meet the standards required by the Animal Licensing (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) Regulations 2018.

All kennels and boarders that hold a valid licence have a free listing on the website which kennel owners and boarders can “claim” by creating a free account - this allows them to personalise some of their listing and interact with dog owners.

An easy-to-use system for dog owners

The Good Kennel Guide takes the stress out of dog boarding by only listing licensed kennels and boarders who meet the standards required by the Animal Boarding Act 1963.

Dog owners can sign up and create a profile here - it's really simple, and only takes a few moments.

Add your dog to your private profile to submit enquiries to kennel owners and boarders, send messages, and leave reviews following boarding. 

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