Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 gives a statutory right of access to all information held by public authorities, subject to some exceptions.
The Act is designed to make public bodies open, accessible and accountable and impacts the way that this, and every Council, responds to requests for information.
The Act provides the public with two new rights:
- a right to know what information public authorities hold
- a right of access to that information
Make an FOI request
Under FOI, anyone, anywhere can request information about the Council and its business. The only stipulation is that a Freedom of Information request should be received in writing (this could be a fax, email or letter).
You can also make a request using our online form:
Requests can be made to access any information held by the Council. This could be information held in an official report, a briefing document, emails, fax or even notes. The information can be about the Council’s current business or from years gone by.
Since the "general right of access" to public information under the Act came into force in January 2005, the number of FOI requests received by the Council has increased significantly each year:
|Number of requests||62||80||136||172||247||295||406||389|
The Freedom of Information Act recognises that there are valid reasons for withholding some information in response to a request. The Act details situations in which information is considered exempt. Unless information is covered by an exemption it must be released if requested.
The Information Commissioner is responsible for overseeing the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act. The Commissioner is responsible for the issue of advice and guidance but also has enforcement powers. Breaches or refusals to comply with the Information Commissioner’s direction can ultimately lead to a contempt of court with substantial fines or in extreme cases imprisonment.
Under FOI legislation all public authorities must have a publication scheme:
This details information that is routinely made available by the Council and whether there is a charge for this information.
For further information please email our FOI Officer at: firstname.lastname@example.org