Right to Information

The Freedom of Information Act does two main things:

  • It gives applicants a general right of access to recorded information held by public authorities – with some procedural and substantive limitations
  • It imposes an obligation on public authorities, including the National Audit Office, to maintain a Publication Scheme approved by the Information Commissioner

How to find or apply for information

Publication Scheme

We recommend you start your information search by looking at our Publication Scheme pages. These list the range of information we proactively make available without the need for specific FOI requests.  They also gives details of how the information can be obtained and any charges.

Charges for Publication Scheme items

Generally, information published on our website is available free of charge – although the user will have to meet any charges by their Internet Service Provider, personal printing costs etc.

Requests for multiple copies or for archived copies of documents which are no longer available on the website, may incur a charge for the cost of retrieval, photocopies, postage etc.

If you are likely to be charged, we will let you know the charge at the time of the request.

Disclosure log

You should also look at our FOI request and disclosure log to see if we have already published a disclosure that covers the information you are looking for.

Making a request

If you want information which is not available under the Publication Scheme you may write to the FOI Team and submit a request.

Your request will be acknowledged and information supplied within 20 working days where possible – subject to exemptions which may prevent some information being released.

In making a request you must

  • State your name
  • Give an address for correspondence
  • Describe as fully as possible the information you are seeking

It would be also be helpful if you were to give a telephone number in case we need to discuss your request with you.

Contact details for FOI requests

Email foi@nao.org.uk

Tel: 020 7798 7264

or write to:

FOI & correspondence team
The National Audit Office
157-197 Buckingham Palace Road

Cost Limit

We do not routinely charge for FOI requests, however there is no obligation for us to provide information if the estimated cost of doing so would exceed £450. This is the limit set in secondary legislation sponsored by the Ministry of Justice.

In cases where the cost limit would be exceeded, we will contact you to discuss whether you would prefer the scope of your request to be modified so it would cost less than the limit.

(When calculating whether the limit is exceeded, we will take account of the costs of determining whether the information is held, locating and retrieving the information, and extracting the information from other documents. We do not include the costs of assessing whether information is exempt under the Act. Staff costs are calculated at £25 per hour).

Unless otherwise stated:

  • The NAO holds the copyright for information contained within the publication scheme
  • all material available via the website may be downloaded, copied or reproduced free of charge in any format or medium without requiring specific permission. This is subject to the material being reproduced accurately and not being used in a derogatory manner or in a misleading context. Where the material is being published or issued to others, the sources and copyright status should be acknowledged
  • From time to time NAO publications may contain information which is subject to Crown copyright, for example where we have reproduced information produced directly by a Crown body. Where this is the case we will have included a copyright statement and users should observe this statement and act accordingly. Crown copyright information featured on this website may be used and re-used (excluding logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. Any enquiries regarding Crown copyright information should be sent to psi@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk.
  • If you are maintaining or developing a website you do not have to ask permission to link directly to pages hosted on the NAO website.However, you must not link to information on our website in a way that implies a relationship with, or endorsement by the NAO, or which misrepresents NAO content as being published by anyone other than NAO.

Publication Scheme Accountability

The Executive Leader Strategy and Operations is responsible for the scheme.

Day to day management of the scheme is the responsibility of the Head of Freedom of Information and Correspondence.

FOI compliance statistics

Quarterly and annual compliance statistics


If your request for information is denied then you may follow a complaints procedure.

In the first instance complaints should be sent to the FOI Team at the NAO.

If you are not happy with any subsequent response you can write to the Information Commissioner who has responsibility for approving Publication Schemes, promoting compliance with the Act and powers of enforcement.

Contact details for the Information Commissioner are:

Information Commissioner
Wycliffe Lane

Tel: 01625 545 745
Fax: 01625 524 510

Website: https://www.ico.org.uk/


If you have any questions or comments about our Publication Scheme please send them to the FOI Team at the address listed above.