Absolute and qualified exemptions
There are 23 exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act. These are divided into two types - absolute and qualified.
Absolute exemption means that the information will not be disclosed under any circumstance.
Qualified exemption means that the information request will be tested. If it is found to be in the public's interest to disclose the information, it will be made available. The information will not be disclosed if it is not found to be in the public's interest.
Information that falls into the categories below will not be disclosed if it is not considered to be in the public's interest:
- information intended for publication at a future date
- information required to be exempt to safeguard national security
- information that would prejudice national defence or the armed forces
- information that would prejudice international relations
- information that would prejudice relations between the UK, Scottish, NI or Welsh governments
- information that would prejudice the economic or financial interests
- information held to investigate criminal proceedings
- information that would prejudice the prevention or detention of crime
- information that would prejudice account auditing
- information relating to the development of government policy
- information that would prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs
- information relating to communications with the Crown
- information where disclosure would endanger anyone's physical or mental health or safety
- information that is required to be made
- information subject to legal professional privilege available to the public under the Environmental Information Regulations
- information that is a trade secret, or where disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.