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If your question isn’t answered here, or you just wanted to let us know something about the site, contact us.

What to do if you didn't get a response to your request #

By law, public authorities normally have to respond to Freedom of Information or Environmental Information requests promptly and within 20 working days. Unfortunately, authorities don't always provide a response within this timeframe.

If 20 working days have passed and you’ve had no response at all, you should first start by sending the authority a polite reminder, which might prompt them to respond to you. If that doesn’t work, the next step will depend on where the authority is based.

For Public Authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland: #

If the public authority has not replied to a request at all, you can complain directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) by email at ICOCasework@ico.org.uk or using their online form:


Although the ICO form asks you to attach copies of any correspondence that you have had with the authority, all you need to do is include a link to your request on WhatDoTheyKnow.

The ICO typically takes around 3 to 7 days to process this type of complaint. If your complaint is valid, the ICO will write to the authority and tell them to provide you with a response within 10 working days.

If the authority still doesn't comply, you can then ask the ICO to issue a formal decision notice. This decision notice will require the authority to respond to you within 35 calendar days.

For Scottish Public Authorities: #

Unlike the ICO, the Scottish Information Commissioner (OSIC) considers a lack of response by a public authority as being a refusal, and will not look at complaints unless you have first requested an internal review, and waited a further 20 working days for a response.

You can request an internal review by clicking on the grey actions button on the request page, and selecting “Request an Internal Review”. You should tell the authority that you are requesting a review because they have not responded to your request.

If the authority doesn’t respond to your request for an internal review, then you can complain to the OSIC. You can do this by sending an email to:


They provide an application form for you to use if you wish to do so. They will need to see a copy of your request and a copy of your request for an internal review, so make sure to include a link to your request as part of your complaint.

The OSIC will look into your complaint, and if upheld, will issue a decision notice finding that the authority failed to respond to both your request for information and review. The decision notice will require the authority to respond to your request.

Changes #

We keep these pages under review, and may make changes from time to time to ensure that they remain up-to-date and accurate. You can find a synopsis of changes we’ve made at our GitHub repository but if you have any questions, please do contact us.