How to request information held by us under the Freedom of Information Act or the Environmental Information Regulations
Information access laws give you the right to request any existing recorded information that is held by the Council. The main laws that help you do this are the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. There are different rules that enable you to access your own personal data.
Information access laws are supervised by the Information Commissioner's Office, who also publishes guidance to help you better understand and exercise your rights. This includes a useful section on request "dos and don'ts" which let you know how you can keep your requests focused and effective.
To make an information request, all you need to do is provide your name, tell us in writing what information you would like to receive, and where it should be sent. You do not need to say which law you are requesting the information under in order to benefit from the rights they entitle you to.
There are a number of straightforward ways you can make your request, including:
Once we receive your request, you will receive an acknowledgement with a case reference number. If there are any problems with interpreting your request - possibly because the wording is unclear, or there are multiple ways it could be interpreted - we will contact you for clarification.
We aim to respond to all valid information requests within 20 working days of receiving them. In some circumstances this may not be possible, and we will notify you if this is the case. If we are unable to respond in time, we may sometimes need to issue an extension notice which will add up to an additional 20 working days.
If it is not possible to provide you with all of the information you have requested because some of it is exempt, we will explain why this is the case in a refusal notice. You have the right to challenge how any of your requests have been handled, and can ask for an internal review simply by explaining why you are unhappy with the outcome.
While there are no charges to make a request for information, we may charge for 'disbursement costs' where necessary.
These are costs such as photocopying, printing and postage if you have specifically asked for documents in a hardcopy format.
You are entitled to ask for information to be sent to you in whatever reasonable format you prefer. Despite this, there will never be a charge for sending electronic documents.
If you have special access needs that mean email or online access is not suitable, please contact the team and we will be happy to arrange an alternative for you.