Information on the Freedom of Information Act
The Freedom of Information Act
The Freedom of Information Act gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, with the Environmental Information Regulations covering information to do with the environment.
There are certain exemptions under the legislation which may prevent release. For a full list of exemptions, and further information relating to the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations, please see the Information Commissioner's website.
Individuals already have the right of access to information about themselves under data protection legislation. As far as public authorities are concerned, the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations extend this right to allow public access to all types of information held.
Every public authority is required to adopt and maintain a publication scheme setting out:
- the classes of information it holds
- the manner in which it intends to publish the information
- whether a charge will be made for the information
The purpose of a scheme is to ensure a significant amount of information is available, without the need for a specific request. You can view our publication scheme document at the bottom of this page.
Most routinely published information provided by us is available from this website. If, after using the search facilities, you are still unable to access the information you require, please submit a request for information to the contact details below. Your request must be made in writing. This can be in any written form, such as a letter, fax or email. The request must state your name and address for correspondence and describe the information required.
Requests will generally be dealt within 20 working days of being received, although this timescale can be extended in certain circumstances.
You may request that the information be supplied in any form, however we will take into account the cost of supplying the information in this form, before complying with your request. In particular, you may ask for a copy of the information sought, or for permission to inspect the records containing the information. We will provide the information in the form requested unless it is unreasonable to do so.
We will charge the full cost for disbursements such as copying and printing. A fees notice will be sent to you that will put a hold on the 20 days for responding to your initial request until the fee is paid. If after three months the fee is unpaid, it will be assumed that you no longer require the information.
What to do if you're dissatisfied
If you're unhappy with how your request has been handled, or if you disagree with any exemptions applied, you may ask for an internal review using the contact details below. This will be carried out by an officer not involved with the original response to your request.
You should be informed of the decision in 20 working days (or in exceptional cases, 40 working days).
If, after an internal review, you remain dissatisfied, you may make a complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office who are responsible for adjudicating on the way requests have been handled.