Frequently Asked Questions

Information and communication

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.

You may ask for the information to be supplied to you in any format.

But we 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.

Providing the information you have requested is not covered by one the exemptions under the Act, we will provide it to you.

If we are unable to release the information for some reason, we will contact you to advise you of this as soon as possible. If this is the case we will also provide you with a full explanation of why you cannot access the data.

Read about exemptions from freedom of information requests.

Read about exemptions from data protection requests.

In general, any information that is held by a public authority, which is covered by the Act, is potentially available to the public.

But the Act does contain a number of 'exemptions' that may be applied 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.

While the Act does not specifically limit the number of requests you can make, it does give us 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 our work.

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 our 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 us 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 our 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.

Freedom of Information Complaints Procedure

You must write to the Council stating which information is incorrect and why, and ask for it to be corrected.

The Council must then tell you whether or not it has complied with your request within 21 days. If you are unhappy with the outcome of this you may then complain to the Council in writing and a review of the case will be undertaken by the Information Management Officer. You will be contacted with 15 days with the outcome of this review.
If you still feel the outcome of this is unsatisfactory, a complaint can be logged with the Information Commissioner.

'Personal information' is information about a living person that can identify that individual. Information about deceased individuals is not covered under the Data Protection Act'

You are entitled to be told if any personal information is held about you and if it is, to be given:

  • A copy of the information in permanent form
  • An explanation of any technical or complicated terms
  • Any information we have about where they got your information from
  • A description of the information, the purposes for processing the information, and
    who we are sharing the information with
  • The logic involved in any automated decisions (if you have specifically asked for this).

Where we're permitted by, or under, statute and have, 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.

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