Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) or Environmental Information Regulations (EIR), you do not need to tell us your reason for requesting information, but it will help to prevent delays and ensure you receive the correct information if you can be as clear and specific as possible in your request.
A valid request will:
- Be submitted in writing: including via an online form, email or letter (Verbal requests are acceptable under EIR)
- Contain the name of the requester (This may be a company name)
- Contain the address of the requester (This may be an email address if this is the format in which you wish to receive your response)
- Detail the information being requested
Requests for information will be responded to within 20 working days.
You will be contacted for clarification if we are unclear what information you require.
Will there be a Charge for this Information?
Material which is published and accessible on the website can be downloaded free of charge.
We will not charge for requests for information that are submitted to us.
We may however charge a fee for actual disbursements such as:
- Postage and packaging
- The cost directly incurred as a result of viewing information
Any charges will be in accordance with the Council's policy on Freedom of Information fees and charges.
Accessing the Information We Hold
The Council is committed to publishing as much information as possible via the publication scheme as it can.
However, if you have reviewed the publication scheme and checked the website, using the A to Z or search facility, and cannot find what you are looking for, you can make a request for the information.
There are certain occasions where a request for information may be refused. These are:
- The request is not valid (see above for valid request criteria),
- The cost of compliance will exceed the appropriate limit (FOI only),
- The request is repeated or vexatious,
- The information being requested is exempt from disclosure.
A refusal notice will be issued for any request falling within these categories. Advice and assistance will be provided where appropriate to assist your undertanding and/or help you to submit a new request.
There may be valid reasons for the Council to withold certain information so the legislation provides a number of specific exemptions (referred to as exceptions in EIR) which may be applied.
Where some, but not all, of the information requested falls within an "exempt" category it will be published with the exempt material removed.
The majority of these exemptions are 'qualified exemptions' which means that the council must consider public interest before withholding the information. This does not mean information that the public are interested in. The public interest test determines whether the greater good for the public as a whole lies in witholding or disclosing the information.