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How can you complain?

We take our obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 seriously.

Where you are dissatisfied with the way in which your request has been handled please follow the complaints procedure outlined here.

Access to information appeals and complaints policy

This process is available for people wishing to appeal a council decision or complain about the process used in answering a request made under one of the following pieces of legislation:

  • Data Protection Act 2018
  • The Freedom of Information Act 2000
  • The Environmental Information Regulations 2004

This process is only to be used for information appeals/complaints and should not be used for any other appeal or complaint. A separate process exists for general complaints and complaints against a Councillor.

Appeals or complaints will not be considered in parallel to any other action being taken by the complainant, either within the Council or by using any other independent means for example Court Action, complaining to the Information Commissioner or complaining to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Should the Council become aware that any such action has been started whilst in parallel to the use of this procedure the Council will suspend this process until the results of the other action are clear and ratified.

Appeals and complaints should be made in writing, either by letter or by e-mail. It should contain sufficient details of why the complainant is unhappy with the Council’s decision or processes used, what they require doing about it and a full contact address to:

Freedom of Information
North West Leicestershire District Council
Whitwick Road
Coalville
Leicestershire
LE67 3FJ

Telephone appeals and complaints will not be accepted.

Appeals and complaints should be within the timescale as set by the Council’s procedure below.

The Council will not handle any appeals or complaints where separate means of redress, either internal or external to the Council, are being employed until these activities have been fully exhausted. Complainants should re-submit their appeal or complaint when this is the case.

This is a single stage process. Once a decision has been reached and the complainant notified of the decision and the reasons for this the Council will not take any further action in this matter.

If the complainant is dissatisfied by the outcome the complainant should then ask the Information Commissioner to review the decision by detailing the complaint to his office at:

The Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
WILMSLOW
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone: 01625 545 745
Fax: 01625 524 510

Concerns: https://ico.org.uk/concerns/getting/

In the event of being dissatisfied with the response or judgment you receive from the Information Commissioner, you also have the right to appeal against his decision to the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights). This is strictly for use when you dispute the Information Commissioner’s response and not the public authority or any other party’s acts

If you wish to appeal against a decision notice, you can obtain information on how to appeal along with the relevant forms from the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) website.

Any Notice of Appeal should be served on the Tribunal within 28 calendar days of the date on which this Decision Notice is served.

Further details on this body and making such an appeal can be obtained from:

First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights)
Arnhem House Support Centre
PO Box 6987
Leicester
LE1 6ZX

Tel: 0845 600 0877
Fax: 0116 249 4253

Email: informationtribunal@tribunals.gsi.gov.uk

Website: http://www.justice.gov.uk/tribunals

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Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) appeals and complaints Procedure

Timescale

We reserve the right not to consider a complaint, whether formal or informal, when it is raised for the first time more than two months after the act or omission of the Council which is the focus of the complaint.

Informal procedure

  • Contact the individual that dealt with your information request and they will attempt to resolve your complaint on an informal basis.
  • You will normally receive a response within 20 working days.
  • If you are still unsatisfied with the response that you have been given please follow the formal complaints procedure outlined below.

Formal procedure

If you were dissatisfied with the outcome of the informal complaints process you should make a formal complaint.

What you should do

  • Put your complaint in writing, providing any supporting evidence, to the Records Management Officer
  • Include a statement that it is a formal complaint relating to FOIA
  • What you want the Council to do about it
  • Full contact address
  • The Legal Services Team Manager will investigate and respond to your complaint within 20 working days
  • If the Legal Services Team Manager dealt with your initial request for information,  your complaint will automatically be referred to the Head of Legal and Support Services for independent consideration
  • In this case your complaint will also receive a response within 20 working days

In the first instance, the complaint should be sent to our Records Management Officer at:

Freedom of Information
North West Leicestershire District Council
Whitwick Road
Coalville
Leicestershire
LE67 3FJ

Email foi@nwlweicestershire.gov.uk

What we will do:

We will:

  • Acknowledge receipt of your complaint within five working days and give you a date when you will receive the findings of our investigation. If, for any reason, we find we will not be able to meet this target date we will advise you
  • The Council will aim to provide a full response to the complaint within 20 working days. If this is not possible, the customer will be kept informed of progress and how long the investigation will take to conclude
  • Wherever possible complaints will be dealt with by a senior officer not involved in the case or party to any original decision. This will usually be the Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer or a nominee
  • Follow through the original request step by step to ensure that we have acted within our procedures
  • If the complaint involves the way in which exemptions or public interest test have been applied, the original decision will be re-assessed by a review panel
  • If we find that we have wrongly applied an exemption and should have released additional information we will release the information as soon as possible
  • If we find that we have not disclosed information that we should have released then we will let you have the information as soon as possible
  • If we are satisfied that we have followed all our procedures and that the original decision is to be unchanged we will advise you in writing
  • If we find that our procedures were faulty we will take steps to improve them.

If you are still not satisfied:

If after pursuing the above complaints process you are still dissatisfied with the response you have been given you may refer the matter to the Information Commissioner for a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

The Information Commissioner's contact details are:

The Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
WILMSLOW
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone: 01625 545 745
Fax: 01625 524 510

Concerns: https://ico.org.uk/concerns/getting/

However, the Information Commissioner has said that he will not deal with complaints where you have by-passed our internal review.

The Commissioner’s role

  • The Commissioner’s duty is to decide whether the authority has complied with its duties under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the “Act”).
  • To review the nature of the request/s and the correspondence supplied by the complainant
  • Decide if it necessary to contact the authority for further information or arguments in support of its decision
  • If necessary request Information from the authority in the form of a information notice
  • Appoint a case officer
  • Can serve a decision notice
  • Can serve an enforcement notice

If you are dissatisfied with the response or judgment you receive from the Information Commissioner

In the event of being dissatisfied with the response or judgment you receive from the Information Commissioner, you also have the right to appeal against his decision to the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights). This is strictly for use when you dispute the Information Commissioner’s response and not the public authority or any other party’s acts. Further details on this body and making such an appeal can been seen at www.informationtribunal.gov.uk.

Right of appeal for both parties

Either party has the right to appeal against a Decision Notice to the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights). Information about the appeals process may be obtained from:

First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights)
Arnhem House Support Centre
PO Box 6987
Leicester
LE1 6ZX

Tel: 0845 600 0877
Fax: 0116 249 4253

Email: informationtribunal@tribunals.gsi.gov.uk

Website: http://www.justice.gov.uk/tribunals

Any Notice of Appeal should be served on the Tribunal within 28 calendar days of the date on which a Decision Notice is served.

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