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Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act 2000, in essence, makes the presumption that the public are entitled to see any Council document unless there are good reasons to keep the information confidential.

Material which does not have to be disclosed

A full listing of exempt material is given in Part II of the Act. Very little is likely to apply to us; the most likely exemptions might be:

  • if disclosure would prejudice a 3rd party
  • if the information was given to the Council confidentially
  • if the public good is best served by non-disclosure.

Disclosure by Publication Scheme

The council has adopted the model publication scheme proposed by the Information Commissioners. The public are entitled to inspect these documents and to take notes or copies.

Disclosure upon request

Members of the public can request information on particular subjects. There are no formal requirements on applicants to describe the information in a particular way, but the description must be sufficient for the Clerk to be able to identify and locate the information requested. The applicant is not required to describe a particular record.

The council must respond to such a request promptly and in any case within 20 working days.

Fees for copying

The council is entitled to charge a fee for supplying information requested and for any copying which it undertakes. In general we will not levy a search charge unless the amount of work is likely to be onerous. The charge for photocopying is 10p per A4 sheet. We are not obliged to arrange for material to be copied. Members of the public must not be allowed to remove council documents for copying.

Note that payment should be made in advance. Once a request for payment has been made the clock counting the 20 working day response time ‘stops’ and only restarts when payment is made.

Page updated November 2010