Making a Freedom of Information request


The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by the University of Sheffield. It also sets out exemptions from that right and places a number of obligations on the University when responding to requests for information. For the purposes of the Act, the University of Sheffield is defined as a public authority.

The University publishes a great deal of information via the University website.

Information can also be found via the University’s Publication Scheme.

Potential students often mistakenly use the above email address to ask questions relating to admissions and applications - a quicker and more appropriate response can be found on the following web page: Contacts for prospective students.

If you wish to make a request for information, please contact the University at the following address or email: 

Freedom of Information
University Secretary's Office
The University of Sheffield,
12 Bolsover Street,
S3 7NA


Complaints and requests for an internal review

You have the right to complain to us if your request for information is:

  • refused;
  • partially refused; or
  • you did not receive all the information requested.

We will where possible try to resolve your concerns informally by:

  • explaining in more detail the grounds for refusal to disclose the information you requested; or
  • clarifying the exemption(s) we used.

If we are unable to resolve your complaint informally, we will notify you of your right to begin the internal review process.

If you ask us for an internal review, we will treat this as a formal complaint subject to the internal review procedure.

Following an internal review there are a number of possible outcomes:

  • our original decision is upheld;
  • our original decision is reversed in part, or in full; or
  • our original decision is modified.

A request for an internal review should be submitted to us in writing within 20 working days from receipt of our response. There is no statutory deadline for undertaking internal reviews, but the ICO states that internal reviews should take no longer than 20 working days. If it isn’t possible to reach a decision in that time, we will let you know. We will also give you the anticipated timescale for our response.

All correspondence in relation to your request should be sent to:

Head of Data Protection & Legal Services, The University of Sheffield, First Floor, Arts Tower, 12 Bolsover Street, Sheffield, S3 7NA

Or by email to:

Internal Review Objectives

  • Provide a fair and thorough review of handling issues and of decisions taken including decisions taken about where the public interest lies.
  • Support a full re-evaluation of the case, taking into account the matters raised by the investigation of the complaint.
  • Determine complaints promptly within a set and reasonable time for review, usually 20 working days.
  • Be undertaken by someone independent to the person who took the original decision.
  • Enable a fresh decision to be taken on a reconsideration of all the relevant factors.

Internal Review Process

Your request for an internal review will be handled by a senior officer not involved in the case or party to any original decision. This will usually be the Head of Data Protection & Legal Services.

The reviewer will undertake a full re-evaluation of the case, taking into account your complaint. They will be provided with all relevant information relating to your original request and will undertake a thorough and impartial review of the decisions taken, including those with regard to the public interest with respect to exempt information.

The University will keep records of all internal reviews and their outcomes. We will notify you of the outcome of the internal review and if it is found that any information previously withheld should be released, the information in question will be supplied along with the outcome of the review.

If this is not possible you will be informed when the information will be supplied. If we are unable to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision.

The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.