Freedom of Information requests

What is the Freedom of Information Act?

The Freedom of Information Act provides public access to information held by public authorities. It does this in two ways:

  • public authorities are obliged to publish certain information about their activities; and
  • members of the public are entitled to request information from public authorities.

The Act covers any recorded information that is held by us. This includes printed documents, computer files, letters, emails, photographs, and sound or video recordings. It allows you to ask us for all the recorded information we have on any subject. You don't have to tell us why you want the information, and we won't ask. We will be open and honest.

The Act sets out exemptions from the right of access and places various obligations upon the Council. If any exemptions apply to information you have requested, we will provide full explanations.

Environmental Information Regulations

We will deal with requests for information about the environment in accordance with the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004. The definition of Environmental Information is very wide and includes written, electronic, visual or audio information on subjects such as the land, landscape and natural sites, energy and noise. It also includes  measures and activities affecting or designed to protect the environment such as policies, legislation, plans, programmes, environmental agreements and reports on the implementation of environmental legislation.

The FOI Act and the EIRs do not give people access to their own personal data (information about themselves).

If you want to see information that we hold about you, a data protection Subject Access Request (SAR) needs to be made.

Model publication scheme

Every public authority must have a publication scheme. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has created a model publication scheme that all public authorities must use.

The model publication scheme commits the Council to publish certain classes of information. It also specifies how the Council should make the information available, what the Council can charge, and what the Council needs to tell members of the public about the scheme.

Our model publication scheme is a short document setting out the Council's high-level commitment to proactively publish information. It consists of seven commitments and seven classes of information.

Read the current Publication Scheme