Freedom of Information

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 or request access to CCTV footage.

Make an information request

The easiest way to make an FOI request is via our online form.

Request online

Other ways to make a request

Before making your information request

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.

The best places to check are:

Who can request information under FOI?

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

How do I make a request?

You can submit your request online or via email or by post.

  • email: foi@westminster.gov.uk 
  • postal address: Knowledge and Information Management Team, 10th Floor East, Westminster City Hall, 64 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QP

Your request must be made in writing and must include:

  • your name
  • your address
  • a detailed description of the information you wish to obtain
  • any preferences for the format for receiving the information

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.

How long does it take?

Your request will be acknowledged within 5 working days.

The council has up to 20 working days to comply with your request, as set out in the The Freedom of Information Act 2000.

We will consider your request, and let you know if we can provide the information you requested or explain why we can't.

How can I find out the status of my request?

Before you contact us check how long it has been since you made the request:

  • if it is less than 20 working days please don't contact us
  • if it has been more than 20 working days please call 020 7641 6000 with your reference number and date the request was submitted

How much does it cost?

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.

Full details of how these costs are calculated can be found in our charging policy.

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.

Making a complaint

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 write to the Knowledge and Information Management Team 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.

You can also contact the team on 0207 641 3921. 


Last updated: 10 July 2015
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