When authorities reply to requests they often use a template sections in their answers. Requesters, to an extent, can do the same when asking for information.
Making it as easy as possible for an authority to identify an FOI request will reduce the potential for initial delays. It is possible to show them you know your rights, without being patronising.
The following template for a request may be a useful starting point.
All requests should be tailored to the authority and the particular information.
Dear [Authority name]
I am writing to you under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to request the following information from [authority name/department]:
[Insert what is being asked for]
Please provide the information in the form [insert form to be received in]
If it is not possible to provide the information requested due to the information exceeding the cost of compliance limits identified in Section 12, please provide advice and assistance, under your Section 16 obligations, as to how I can refine my request to be included in the scope of the Act.
In any case, if you can identify ways that my request could be refined please provide further advice and assistance to indicate this.
I look forward to your response within 20 working days, as stipulated by the Act.
If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact me via email or phone and I will be happy to clarify what I am asking for, my details are outlined below.