How to make an FOI request
Make a Request
The request must state the name and address of the person applying for the information and the required information.
If your request is a valid Freedom of Information (FOI) request it will be passed to the appropriate officer of the Council for them to respond to you. You will receive a response within 20 working days.
PLEASE NOTE: If your FOI request concerns any of the following functions you will need to redirect your request to Nottinghamshire County Council at email@example.com as these are County Council services and not functions of Bassetlaw District Council and we will not hold the requested information –
- highways and transport (including street lighting)
- on-street parking
- children’s and youth services
- adult services
- village greens and commons registration
You will receive no further communication if this applies
Public Authorities Have a Duty to Provide Assistance
Public authorities are required to provide advice and assistance to people who have made or who are thinking of making a request. This will help applicants understand their rights under the Act and identify the information they want.
Public authorities are allowed to charge you a fee for responding to your requests. The amount that can be charged will be set out in regulations.
A maximum fee of £450 will apply.
You can either ask for a copy of the information you seek, the change to inspect the records, or even to be provided with a summary of the information.
The public authority should try and provide the information in the form requested unless it is unreasonable to do so.
If any of the information requested is exempt you should be told which of the exemptions has been relied on to withhold the information.
There are 23 exemptions from the general rights of access.
- Certain information relating to national security, information that would prejudice international relations, commercially sensitive information, confidential information.
- Environmental Information can be accessed through the Environmental Information Regulations.
- If you wish to access information about yourself you should use your rights under the Data Protection Act. Personal data about other people cannot be released if to do so would breach the Data Protection Act. Exemptions that do not have a public interest test as known as absolute exemptions.
- If you already have reasonable access to the information you want then you should use that means. Therefore if information is available through a publication scheme the public authority can simply direct you to its scheme.
- Some of the exemptions require the public authority to consider whether it is in the public interest to withhold information.
- Consideration of the public interest may take longer than the 20 days normally allowed for responding to requests.
- In these cases the public authority must give you an estimate of when it will have reached a decision on where the public interest lies within 20 days of receiving the request.
Request a Review
If you are not happy with the response you receive you must first Complain to the Council.
If you are still unhappy you may complain to the Information Commissioner www.ico.org.uk who will decide whether the request has been handled properly.
Both you and the public authority are informed of the Commissioner’s decision in a Decision Notice. Where appropriate the Decision Notice will instruct the public authority what steps it needs to take to comply with the Act, this may include the release of information. Both you and the public authority may appeal against a decision notice to the Information Tribunal.
The Commissioner can also issue a public authority with an Enforcement Notice stating what steps it should take to comply with the Act. Although it is similar to a Decision Notice in some respects, the Commissioner does not need to wait to respond to a complaint from you that a request has been incorrectly handled before taking this form of enforcement action. Only the public authority may appeal to the Information Tribunal against such a notice.