The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 gives you the right to
request information held by the Council.
Before making your information request
The Council makes certain information proactively available to
the public via a number of means. Before lodging your request, it
is important that you check whether the information you are seeking
is already available to you.
If this is the case, the Council is not obliged to deal with
your request under the Freedom of Information Act.
Please first check the following sources:
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.
However, a number of exemptions may
How do I make a request?
Your request must be made in writing. You can submit your
request via email, fax or by mail.
Your request must include:
- your name
- your address (email address is accepted)
- a description of the information you wish to obtain
- any preferences for the format for receiving the
The Council does not have to respond to broad requests for
information. Please be as specific as possible, and ensure that the
description of the information you require is clear and detailed to
enable us to identify and locate the information you are
If we do not have enough information in order to find what you
are seeking, we may come back to you with more questions.
We have created a request form [PDF file] to
What happens when I make a request?
When the Council receives a request for information, we must
respond promptly, and not later than 20 working days after
receiving your request.
We will consider your request, and reply. The reply should
confirm or deny whether or not we hold the information, and either
provide the information you requested, or explain why it has not
What does it cost?
The Government has signalled that the Council may levy a charge
if the work required to retrieve the requested information costs
more than £450.
The Council reserves the right to charge for disbursements eg.
If we intend to charge a fee, we will send you a fees notice and
you then have three months in which to pay. Once we receive the fee
we will then respond to your request.
If the cost of meeting your request exceeds the appropriate
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
What happens if my request is refused?
A request for information may only be refused if:
- it is vexatious or repeated
- if we have asked you for more information in order to 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 and give you
details of how to apply for an internal review of this decision.
For details on how to make a complaint, see below. If, after an
internal review, the Council still refuses your request, you may
ask the Information Commissioner to review that decision.
How many requests can I make?
The Act does not specifically limit the number of requests you
can make. However, the Act states 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
How can I use the information I receive?
The Freedom of Information 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
Can I ask for the information in a different format?
You may request that the information be supplied in any form.
However, the Council is required to meet your wishes 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
In particular, you may ask for information in permanent form, in
summary form, or for permission to inspect records containing the
Advice and assistance
The Council is under a duty to provide you with help and
assistance with your information request. Please direct any queries
Making a complaint
The Council has an internal complaints process for handling FOI
Act complaints. Complaints are reviewed by the Chief
Solicitor and Monitoring Officer or her nominee. A form is
available to lodge your
complaint [PDF] (file size 19Kb).
Following this review, should you still be unhappy with how your
information request has been handled, you have a further right to
appeal to the Information
Commissioner who is responsible for ensuring compliance with
the FOI Act.