Rights of Access
Information Access Requests
Two other Acts make up the access to information legislation. The Data Protection Act 1998 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. An applicant does not need to know which act to request information under. It is down to the Council to process the request using the correct legislation.
A request must:
- Be in writing.
- A request cannot be handled using the Freedom of Information legislation unless it is written, (this includes requests made by email, fax or letter). It should be noted that Environmental Information Regulation requests can be made orally (over the phone or in person).
- You must include your name and a return address.
- Express whether you want the information on paper or electronically.
- The Council may make a charge to convert the information if the information is not in the specified format.
- You should state clearly the information you require. Please be as specific as you can. If you are unsure of the exact information please describe the information as best as you can.
- If the Council is unsure of the exact information you are requesting we will contact you to clarify your request.
All access to information requests are responded to centrally by Information Governance. The Council will respond to all written requests within the timelines below.
A request will be timed from the day after it is received by an employee of the Council. I.e. the 20 working days begin on the day after receipt.
Information will be released by the 20th working day.
You will also be informed by the 20th working day if the information you have requested is exempt from disclosure.
The Council has set internal targets to respond to your request. These are:
- Acknowledge your request by the 5th working day. If you make your request by email to [email protected] then your request will be instantly acknowledged and the Council will not issue an acknowledgement letter unless you specifically ask.
- If an acknowledgement is sent this will confirm or deny whether the information is held by the 5th working day (if the information can be released at this point every effort will be made to do so).
- Issue a fees notice (if applicable and if possible) by the 10th working day
- Consider all exemptions by the 15th working day
- Communicate the information (or inform you of any refusal to release the information) by the 20th working day
- Clock stops between the issue of a Fees Notice and fee being paid
- the request will be abandoned after 3 months if the fee is not paid.
- Clock stops if the Council cannot identify the information you require. This may be because we needs to clarify your request before we can proceed or your request is too vague or vast.
- Clock may be stopped to enable the Public Interest test to be assessed
- You will be informed if this happens and given a new date by which the Council agrees to respond by.
Last reviewed on 17/5/2011