The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) gives you the right to request information held by the council.
The Act gives you the right (subject to exemptions) to the information relevant to your request. It doesn’t give you the right to council documents, records, or information on other people. This means that there will be times when only some parts of a document or record will be made available to you.
If you are seeking information about yourself, you already have the right of access under the Data Protection Act. Find out how to request personal information about yourself.
The easiest way to make an FOI request is via our online form. Anyone can request information under the Act regardless of age, nationality or location.
The council already makes a lot of information publicly available. Before making your request you need to check if the information is already available. If it is, the council isn’t obliged to deal with your request.
You can submit your request online or via email or by post.
Your request must be made in writing and must include:
The council does not have to respond to broad requests for information. Please make your request as specific as possible, and ensure that the description of information you require is clear and detailed. This helps us locate the information you are seeking faster.
If we don’t have enough information to find what you want, we may come back to you with more questions.
Your request will be acknowledged within 5 working days.
We will consider your request, and let you know if we can provide the information you requested or explain why we can't.
Before you contact us check how long it has been since you made the request:
If the work required to retrieve the requested information costs more than £450, we are allowed to charge you for it.
The council also reserves the right to charge for disbursements eg. photocopying and postage.
If we intend to charge a fee, we will tell you first and you then have 3 months in which to pay. Once we get the fee, we will 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 information.
These fees do not apply to the normal charges made for some publications as set out in our Publication Scheme.
A request for information may only be refused if:
If your request is refused, we will explain why and give you details of how to apply for an internal review of this decision.
We will always try to help you with queries and requests for information.
If you disagree with any exemptions applied to your request for information, or you are not satisfied with how we have handled your request, you are entitled to ask for an internal review of the council’s response.
If you would like to request an internal review please contact the Information Management Team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the address provided on the response letter.
If you are still not satisfied with the outcome having gone through the council’s Internal Review procedure, you can ask the Information Commissioner to review the decision.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, public authorities are required to have a publication scheme. A publication scheme is a guide which tells people about the broad classes of information that we will routinely make available to the public. It includes information held in any form for example, websites, paper files and public registers.
We have adopted the Information Commissioner's Model Publication Scheme (PDF, 293KB) for local authorities. The Information Commissioner is an independent regulator who enforces and advises upon the Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations and has produced and approved this scheme.