Introduction to the Freedom of Information Act

  • The Freedom of Information Act became law on 30 November 2000 and full implementation began on 1 January 2005.
  • The aim of the Act is to foster a culture of openness in government and public bodies.
  • It provides individuals with the right, subject to a range of exemptions, to access recorded information held by a public body - in this case the National Maritime Museum.
  • Individuals already have the right of access to information about themselves under the Data Protection Act 1998.
  • As of 1 January 2009 the NMM is required to publish documents to its Publication Scheme in line with guidance issued by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

View our online Freedom of Information Publication Scheme

Background to the Publication Scheme

Under the Act, but before its full implementation in January 2005, every public authority is required to adopt and maintain a Publication Scheme. Publication Schemes will encourage organisations to publish more information pro-actively and to develop a greater culture of openness.

Section 19(1) of the Act provides that it shall be the duty of every public authority to adopt and maintain a publication scheme, to publish information in accordance with its scheme and, from time to time, to review its publication scheme.

Purpose and aims of the Publication Scheme

The purpose of the National Maritime Museum's Publication Scheme is to ensure a significant amount of information is available to the public, without the need for a specific request, by providing a structured listing of information the Museum routinely makes available.

The scheme sets out how the Museum publishes the different classes of information it makes available and whether the information is available free of charge or payment is required. In this scheme, the term 'publication' refers to documents available in a variety of formats: for example, paper-based documents such as reports and books or computer files such as databases and web pages.

Each class of information contains one or more publications listed in either chronological or, when appropriate, alphabetical order by title. Each publication is clearly marked to show its availability and whether or not charges may apply to making it available.

The Museum is committed to proactively publish as much information as possible when the information becomes available and will review and update its scheme accordingly.

The Publication Scheme is available electronically from the Museum's website and copies are also available from the Museum Secretary Governance and Museum Records Manager at

Exemptions and revisions 

Please be aware that, in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, exemptions apply to some information held by the Museum. If you wish to complain about the use of an exemption, please see the complaints procedure.

The Museum also complies with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 and respects the privacy of individuals.

From time to time, updates and revisions are made to publications in the scheme and the scheme itself will be reviewed periodically. Whenever these occur the Museum will make the new information available as soon as practical. How long the publications remain available is also given in the scheme where relevant.

Complaints procedure relating to the Freedom of Information Act

The Museum's policy is to be as open as possible and supply the information you have requested, but we may withhold information if we consider its release would be detrimental to the work of the Museum. If we refuse to supply all or part of any information you have asked for in writing we will then write to you giving our reasons for refusal. The reasons will be based on the exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act.

If you are dissatisfied by the Museum's response, you can request an internal review of the decision you have received. Requests for an internal review, which will be made by senior management in the Museum, are to be made in writing to the Governance and Museum Records Manager at

If the internal review confirms the decision not to supply information, and you are not satisfied with the reasons we give you, you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:

The Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF

Tel: 01625 545700

You may also request a review by the Museum if you believe the charges we make to supply information are unfair.

Responsibility for the Publication Scheme

The Governance and Museum Records Manager is responsible for the Museum's Publication Scheme at organizational level. Contact


Find out how to obtain information via the Publication Scheme