Freedom of information
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives anyone the right to ask for recorded information held by public authorities, including us.
You have the right to ask us for information and we'll:
- tell you whether or not we have the information you want
- give the information to you, unless it is covered by any of the exemptions listed in the Act
How can I get information?
Check our publication scheme and website
A publication scheme commits us to making information available to the public as part of our normal business activities. View the details of the information we make available on our website.
Make an information request
If you can't find the information you want on our website or by using the publication scheme, you can send us an information request by letter, fax or email. We will need:
- your name and contact details (email or postal address) so we can send you a reply; and
- a description of the information or documents you want
If you prefer, you can fill in and return our information request form (133k, pdf) and send it to us using these contact details:
Information Access team
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street
Fax: 0161 923 6201
We will respond to your request as soon as possible, normally within 20 working days. You will receive a reply to say either:
- we have the information you have asked for and include a copy of it
- we have the information but we cannot give it to you because we are exempt from doing so - in which case we will explain why
- we can't confirm or deny if we have the information - in which case we will explain why.
Charges for information requests
If you request information through our publication scheme and the entry says that a charge will apply, you will be told how much this will cost. The charge may apply depending on how long it will take and how costly it will be to gather the information.
Requests made under the Freedom of Information Act are free. However, we don't have to answer a request if the cost of doing so is more than £450. This is about two and half days of work, or 18 hours, at a rate of £25 per person per hour.
Information we can't give you
Although you can ask for any information we hold, there are a number of exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act. This means we may not be able to give you the information you've asked for.
The public interest test
Some of the exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act require us to do a public interest test. This means that even if the information is exempt, we must consider if there is a greater public interest in releasing the information to you. If we decide the public interest is better served by keeping the information exempt then we'll explain our reasons to you.
Below are some examples of exemptions that we think are most relevant to the kind of information we hold.
Absolute exemptions – the public interest test does not apply
- information accessible by other means (eg information already on our website)
- personal information - this means information about you or another living individual
- information provided to us in confidence.
Non-absolute exemptions – the public interest test applies
- information intended for future publication
- prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs - this applies where giving you the information could stop us from being able to carry out our functions properly
- health and safety - this applies where giving you the information could endanger someone
- legal professional privilege - this applies to information classed as legal advice
- commercial interests - (eg information that's a trade secret).
Find out more
If you'd like more information about the Freedom of Information Act, its exemptions and how they apply, you can: