Access to information
We are an open and transparent organisation. Much of the information we hold is published here on our website, and some in particular is published automatically:
- as part of the government commitment to public sector transparency
- as required by the Freedom of Information Act under our publication scheme
Your legal right of access to public information not already published, is covered by the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2000 (EIRs). Before submitting a request for information, you should see if it is already publicly available.
If you require paper copies of any information on our website, please contact us.
Freedom of Information Act rights
The FOIA provides a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities. It places a number of obligations on public authorities and sets out exemptions from that right. The FOIA applies to Ofwat as Ofwat is a public authority. We have a responsibility under the FOIA to provide information in response to any written request, normally within 20 working days. The FOIA is retrospective and therefore applies to records both recent and old.
We plan to respond positively to most requests for information. The exemptions provided by the FOIA protect the public interest. We will apply these as appropriate.
The Ministry of Justice collects and publishes statistics on the handling of requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act by over 40 central government bodies, including Ofwat. View the performance of participating bodies.
Environmental Information Regulations rights
The EIRs provide a right of access to environmental information held by public authorities. 'Environmental information' covers a wide range of areas defined in the regulations. Our duties to provide information under the EIR are similar to those under the FOIA. Section 39 of the FOIA ensures that that requests for "environmental information" within the meaning of the EIRs are dealt with under the separate access regime set out by those Regulations. Requests for information made under the EIR need not be in writing.
Detailed information on the EIRs is available from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)and the ICO.
Useful external links
- Ministry of Justice
- Information Commissioner
- Environment Agency
- Drinking Water Inspectorate
- Freedom of Information Act
- Environmental Information Regulations