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The Royal Mail is no longer subject to the Freedom of Information Act following its privatisation. 

The sale of the group means it is no longer government owned and therefore does not fall under the legislation.

Michael Fallon, Conservative MP for Sevenoaks confirmed the service would no longer be subject to the Act in Parliament.

Royal Mail was within the scope of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 because it fell within the definition of a publicly owned body set out in section 6 of that Act. Royal Mail no longer falls within this definition as it is not “wholly owned by the Crown”. The company is, therefore, now outside the scope of the FOI Act.

FOI Directory sent an email to Royal Mail just to confirm they were no longer accepting requests under the Act and received the following reply. 

“Following the flotation of Royal Mail on the London Stock Exchange, it is no longer subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Royal Mail was previously subject to the Act because it was wholly owned by the government. However, now that the government has sold some of its shares in Royal Mail, this is no longer the case. Therefore, we are nolonger obliged to respond to requests for information under the terms of the Act.”

Requesting website What Do They Know is still listing Royal Mail on their website, along with previous requests, as it has significant public responsibilities – although it is unlikely any requests will be answered.

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However, it is not all bad news as the Campaign for Freedom of Information pointed out on that the Post Office is still owned by the Government and subject to FOI. The two have very different roles and remits so it may be possible to access similar information from them.

 

Photo credit: Martin Deutsch / Flickr under Creative Commons 

I am a journalist and author. I am a staff writer at the UK edition of WIRED magazine and in 2015 my book, Freedom of Information: A Practical Guide for UK Journalists, was published. I created FOI Directory in 2012.