Freedom of Information: The Kew Publication Scheme

We explains what information RBG Kew makes available to the public and where possible how we can provide an easy method of accessing this information.

Bright red witch hazel

The Freedom of Information Act aims to develop a culture of openness in government and public bodies. The Act establishes a right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities and imposes obligations on them to disclose information, subject to a range of exemptions. RBG Kew is a public body under the terms of the Act.

Anyone can make a request for information to RBG Kew, although the request must be in writing (letter or email). The Act gives applicants two related rights:

  • the right to be told whether the information exists
  • the right to receive the information, where possible, in the manner requested.

In some cases, where information is exempt from disclosure, RBG Kew is required to consider whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption in question outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

About RBG Kew's Publication Scheme

Section 19 of the Act obliges every public authority to adopt an approved Publication Scheme. The intention of a Publication Scheme is to require authorities to make certain kinds of information routinely available to the public. RBG Kew has adopted the 'Model Publication Scheme' prescribed by the Information Commissioner and available on the Information Commissioner’s website.

The information listed in the Publication Scheme is generally made available in electronic format but can be provided as a hardcopy on request in writing (email is acceptable) or by phone.


All information listed in the Publication Scheme is available free of charge.

How to make a request for information not included in the Publication Scheme

Before you make a request under the Freedom of Information Act, please check that the information you would like is not already available. Requests for information not listed in the Publication Scheme should be made in writing (by email where possible) to RBG Kew and should provide as much detail as possible to enable RBG Kew staff to identify the information sought. If you require the information in a particular format, for example, in hard copy or electronically, this should be stated in your application. If you have difficulty in identifying the precise information you require, or difficulty in making the application in writing, RBG Kew staff will be pleased to help.

In general RBG Kew is required to respond to requests for information within 20 working days. If a fee is to be charged, this will be calculated according to the fees regulations published by the Information Commissioner. Under the Act, fees may be charged based on a standard hourly rate in respect of the time spent in determining whether RBG Kew holds the information, locating the information or a document which may contain the information, retrieving the information or a document which may contain the information, and extracting the information from a document containing it. Where fees are payable, the enquiry will be answered within 20 working days from the date of receipt of the fee.

General visitor information email:

RBG Kew's postal address is:

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Telephone: +44 (0)20 8332 5000

Appeals and complaints procedure

If you are dissatisfied with the response you have had from RBG Kew in respect of a request for information, you may invoke the appeals and complaints procedure. The first step is to seek an internal review of the decision you have received. Requests for internal review should be submitted to RBG Kew in writing (preferably by email to addressed to the General Counsel.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome or the handling of the internal review conducted by RBG Kew, you may seek an independent review from the Information Commissioner.

Requests for a review by the Information Commissioner should be made in writing directly to:

FOI/EIR Complaints Resolution
The Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Further information about what you should do can be found on the Information Commissioner’s website at


For more information

If you have questions on RBG Kew's Publication Scheme or have any comments about access to Kew’s information, please contact