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Freedom of Information Act 2000

Freedom of Information Title BarFreedom of Information - What is it

As part of the Government’s commitment to greater openness in the public sector the Freedom of Information Act has, from 1st January 2005, provided a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by North West Leicestershire District Council and other public bodies, subject to certain exemptions. There are also similar rights to environmental information under the Environmental Information Regulations.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 was introduced with the purpose of encouraging more open and accountable government by establishing a general statutory right of access to official records and information. The Act entitles anybody to ask a public authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, including Government Departments, for any recorded information that they keep.
The Freedom of Information Act applies to all 'Public Authorities' including:

  • Government departments and local assemblies
  • Local authorities and councils
  • Health trusts, hospitals and doctors’ surgeries
  • Schools, colleges and universities
  • Publicly funded museums
  • The Police
  • Lots of other non-departmental public bodies, committees and advisory bodies

The FOI Act operates alongside the Data Protection Act, which allows people to access information about themselves (e.g. personnel records, or information held by credit reference agencies) and the Environmental Information Regulations, which give people access to information about the environment.

The Act itself can be viewed on the website of the The National Archives UK Legislation site at

Freedom Of Information - How to Find Information

How to make a freedom of information request, view information already released and make a request for personal data.

I would like to:

Further Information About Freedom of Information

The following related links provide further information about Freedom of Information.

Frequently Asked Questions (8)

Are There Any Restrictions on How I Can Use the Information I Obtain?

The Act itself does not place restrictions on how the information supplied under it may be used but you should, of course, have regard to the laws of the land - it must not be used for any illegal purposes and you should not use it in a way which could leave you open to prosecution or other forms of litigation. In particular, it should be noted that the Freedom Of Information Act 2000 does not transfer copyright in any information supplied under it.

Can I Ask for the Information to Be Supplied in a Special Format?

You may ask for the information to be supplied to you in any format. However, a public authority may take into account the cost of supplying the information in your preferred format. In any case, you may ask for information in summary form, or for permission to inspect the records containing the information you require.

What sorts of information can I obtain?

In general, any information that is held by a public authority, which is covered by the Act, is potentially available to the public. However, the Act does contain a number of 'exemptions' that may be applied by the public authority in order to prevent the disclosure of information that, if released, would, for example, infringe a person's right to privacy, or constitute a breach of confidence, or which could prejudice law enforcement or national security, etc. Depending on the information requested, an exemption might apply to all or only part of that information. If only part of the information is exempt, you will still be able to obtain those parts of the information that are not exempt.

How Do I Go About Obtaining the Information?

A great deal of the Council's information is already at your fingertips, here on the Council's website. On it, you will find the Council's `Publication Scheme`, which lists the sorts of information that we make available as a matter of routine. Also, our 'A to Z of services' gives you quick and easy access to a myriad of information concerning what the Council does and how and why it does it. You can, of course, also make use of the website's 'search' facility to locate all references to a particular topic that is of interest to you. If the information you require is not already on our website, you can write in to us (or email us) with your request, giving your name and an address for correspondence, and stating clearly what information you require. A simple form is available for you to download and use by clicking the follwing link PDF Document Freedom of Information Request Form (PDF Document, 0.1 Mb). If you require any assistance in formulating your request, just contact us. We are here to help.

How Long Will It Take for Me to Get the Information?

The Act states that, when a public authority receives a request for information, it must respond to it as quickly as possible and, in any case, not later than 20 'working' days after the request is received (or after the nature and extent of the request was clarified where such further clarification of the original request was needed). Obviously response times will vary with the extent of the information requested and also any specially requested format, but we will do our best to get the information to you as quickly as possible. If a fee is required to be paid (see above), we will send you the information when the fee has been paid in full. (Please allow time for cheques to clear). The reply will usually confirm or deny whether or not we actually hold the information you have requested, and, if we do, we will either provide the information or explain why it has not been provided (quoting any appropriate exemption(s) under the Act). It is important to note that the Act gives the right to 'information' rather than the documents themselves. In some cases, however, it might be reasonable, and more practicable, for us to provide copies of the actual documents themselves.

How Many Requests Can I Make?

Whilst the Act does not specifically limit the number of requests you can make, it does give the public authority the right to refuse any 'vexatious' or unreasonably repeated requests. This can include repeated requests for similar information from the same person (or persons acting together) or requests which are deemed to be made with the intention of disrupting the authority`s work.

What Happens if My Request Is Refused? Can I Complain?

If your request is refused, for example because the information requested falls within one or more of the statutory exemptions, you will be told why it was refused and informed of any exemptions that apply. If you are unhappy with the Council's decision, we will do everything we can to resolve your complaint on an informal basis in the first instance. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the informal complaints process you may apply to the Council for an internal review of the decision. This review will be undertaken by different officers from those who made the original decision and the result of the review will be notified to you in writing. If, having gone through our internal review procedure, you are still unhappy with the Council's decision, you may ask the Information Commissioner to independently review the case. The Information Commissioner is responsible for administering and enforcing the Freedom Of Information Act 2000 and may be contacted at the following address: The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Click here for the Freedom of Information Complaints Procedure

What Will It Cost to Get the Information?

Where the Council is permitted by, or under, statute and has, in the past, charged for providing certain information and publications, such charges will remain. If you are requesting information that is covered in our 'Publication Scheme', the scheme gives details of those classes of information where we may charge for providing the information. We may, in certain circumstances, also be able charge for certain information that is not covered in the scheme although, at the time of writing (early December 2004), the regulations governing this aspect of the Act had not been issued. Keep an eye on this website for the latest developments and for details of all current charges and fees for our publications and services.

Last updated: Wed 11th December, 2013 @ 16:36

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