Raise concerns over an unsatisfactory response to a SAR or FOI

Raise concerns over an unsatisfactory response to a SAR or FOI


If you are concerned about the quality or content of a response to a request for information, you will be expected to raise this with the school or other service before escalating the matter to the Information Commissioner, who hears formal complaints.

Subject access request

If you have received a response to an SAR that is poorly copied, heavily redacted, or missing files, you may want to raise this as an issue to be rectified.

You may also want to check the disclosure for the accuracy of the information contained. A person has a right that information held about them is accurate and up-to-date, and if you want to rely on information in a governing board hearing or independent review panel, you may want to ask the school to rectify it so that it can be relied on as evidence.

Freedom of information

If you have received a response to an FOI that does not answer the question you asked, does not provide the information with clarity, or fails to provide information without good reason, you should first raise these concerns with the organisation you requested the information from. Unless the school or other service can point to an exemption in the act as a reason for not providing the requested information, you can insist that they provide it.


Next step? 

If the data controller resolves your complaint, you can exit this step-by-step guide. Otherwise, continue to the next step.



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This information is correct at the time of writing, 5th September 2023. The law in this area is subject to change.

Coram Children’s Legal Centre cannot be held responsible if changes to the law outdate this publication. Individuals may print or photocopy information in CCLC publications for their personal use.

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