Freedom of Information and your rights

Before making your information request

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 gives you the right to ask for information held by the Council.

The Council makes certain information available to the public as part of its normal communications. Before asking for information, please check whether it is already available. If it is, the Council is not obliged to deal with your request under the Freedom of Information Act.

You can check the Council's:

Freedom of Information Publication Scheme [PDF] (file size 196.87 KB)

Make a Freedom of Information request online

Start

Download the Freedom of Information request form

Freedom of Information request form [PDF] (file size 96.25 KB)

Making a complaint

The Council has a complaints process for handling FOI Act complaints. Complaints are reviewed by the Senior Information Governance and Management Officer.

Freedom of Information complaint form [PDF] (file size 94.24 KB)

Following this review, if you not happy about the handling of your request, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner is responsible for ensuring compliance with the FOI Act.


Frequently asked questions about Freedom of Information requests

Who can request information under FOI?Anyone can request information under the Act, regardless of age, nationality or location.

What information is available?Any information held by the Council is eligible for release but exemptions may apply.

How do I make a request?You must make your request in writing. You can submit your request via email, fax or by mail. Your request must include:

  • your name
  • your address (can be an email address)
  • a description of the information you want
  • preferences for the format of the information

The Council does not have to respond to broad requests for information. Please be as specific as possible: include a clear and detailed description of the information you want. This will help us to identify it.

If we do not have enough information we may come back to you with questions.

What happens when I make a request?When we receive a request for information, we must respond within 20 working days.

We will consider your request and reply. Our reply should confirm or deny whether we hold the information. We should either provide the information you asked for, or explain why it has not been provided.

What does it cost?The Council may charge if it costs more than £450 to find the information.

The Council reserves the right to charge for disbursements eg. photocopying.

If we intend to charge a fee, we will send you a fees notice. You will have three months in which to pay. Once we receive the fee we will respond to your request.

If the cost of meeting your request exceeds the limit in the regulations, we are not required to meet your request. If you refuse to pay the fee, the Council can refuse to supply the information.

What happens if my request is refused?A request for information may only be refused if:

  • it is vexatious or repeated
  • we have asked you for more information to help us meet your request and you have not provided it
  • if it falls under one of the exemptions

If your request is refused, we will explain why. We will also give you details on how to apply for an internal review of this decision. See below for how to make a complaint. If, after an internal review, the Council still refuses your request, you may ask the Information Commissioner to review the decision.

How many requests can I make?The Act does not limit the number of requests you can make. However, the Act says that the Council can reserve the right to refuse any vexatious or repeated requests. This may include repeated requests from the same person for the same information, or requests which are intended to disrupt the Council's work.

How can I use the information I receive?The Act does not place restrictions on how the information supplied under it may be used. However, the Act does provide for exemptions for commercially sensitive information, information intended for future publication or information related to investigations, law enforcement and court records.

The Act does not transfer copyright in any information supplied under it.

Can I ask for the information in a different format?You may ask for the information to be supplied in any form. However, the Council is required to meet your request as far as it is practicable. We may also take into account the cost of supplying the information in this form before complying with your request.

You may ask for information in permanent form, in summary form, or for permission to inspect records containing the information.

Advice and assistance

The Council must help you with your information request. Please direct any queries to: