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Freedom of Information
What is it about?
The Freedom of Information Act (FOI) 2000 establishes a general statutory right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities. The FOI Act sets out exemptions and places a number of obligations on public authorities. The Act applies to many public authorities, including local authorities. Local authorities must:
- Have a publication scheme that provides a general guide to the information they hold and which is publicly available;
- Deal with individual requests for information. The Data Protection Act 1998 deals with access to personal information and the FOI Act deals with access to non-personal information and third party information.
What does it mean to me?
You are entitled to any information that falls within the scope of our publication scheme. You are entitled to information, on making a request to the Council (unless the information falls under one of the specific exemptions in the Act);
Is there a time limit for dealing with Freedom of Information requests and is there a charge?
The Act provides a time limit of 20 working days for dealing with a request. If you are refused access to information, the Council provides a right of appeal to its Monitoring Officer or to the Information Commissioner. We may charge a fee for processing Freedom of Information requests where to provide the information you want is particularly time-consuming. The fee is prescribed by law.
Requests for environmental information held by the Council
If your request for information is environmental in nature then it will normally be dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR), rather than under the FOI Act. Examples of environmental information include information relating to matters such as planning, public health, pollution, food safety and waste.
How does this all tie in with the Data Protection Act?
There is a statutory right of access (certain exemptions apply) to personal data under the Data Protection Act 1998. The right of access here is to personal data held on computer or on structured manual files and the data subject is entitled to be informed whether any personal data concerning themselves is being held by the "data controller", i.e. the Council.
How do I submit a Freedom of Information request?
If you wish to submit a Freedom of Information request, please click on the button below:-
Submit FOI Request