Before submitting any new requests for information, please consider whether it is essential and whether the information is already published and available.
Our response to Freedom of Information Requests (FOIs), Environmental Information Regulation requests (EIRs) and Subject Access Requests (SARs) may take longer for us to complete at the moment because of COVID-19 implications.
While your statutory right of access remains unchanged, our resources may be diverted away from usual compliance or information rights work at this time. The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) is aware that people may experience understandable delays when making FOIs, EIRs or SARs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Freedom of Information Act (2000) gives anybody the right to ask for any recorded information from public authorities.
Before making a Freedom of Information request please check that the information is not already available in our publication scheme.
What happens next?
The council must confirm or deny that it holds the information requested and, usually, provide it within 20 working days.
We can only hold information back if it falls under one of the exemptions detailed in the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
If this is the case, a "public interest test" is usually conducted to decide whether it is in the public interest to release the information or not.
There are a small number of absolute exemptions where we may refuse to disclose specific kinds of information without conducting a public interest test.
Will there be a charge?
There is usually no charge for requesting information contained within the publication scheme, with the exception of a few specific documents.
If a charge is applicable, this will be indicated in the publication scheme by one asterisk. The price of the document will be specified at the time of the request.
You can get photocopies of most documents. However, charges may be applied if significant amounts of work or copying of printed material is required.
You may also request other information the council may hold that is not freely available. Charges may be incurred in supplying information.
These charges will always be kept to a minimum and may include:
- postage and packaging
- the costs incurred as a result of viewing information
How will the information be provided?
Information can be provided as:
- a copy in permanent form or other form acceptable to you
- provision of a reasonable opportunity to inspect a record containing the information
- provision of a digest or summary
Where possible we will try to provide information in requested formats such as Braille, audio and different languages.
What to do if you are not happy with the response your receive
If you have submitted a Freedom of Information request and are dissatisfied with the response you have received, you have the right under Section 17 of the Act to ask for an Internal Review.
To do so, please use the contact details and unique enquiry reference included in the Council’s response to specify the areas of your request that you would like to be revisited. The review will be conducted by an independent officer, and the council will aim to respond within 20 working days.