Your rights to request information from us
Your rights to request information under the Freedom of Information Act
You can request information we hold in any form or format. Anyone can request information. You do not have to give a reason. Requests must be made in writing e.g. letter or email, with your contact details. We will try our best to respond within 20 working days and we will let you know if our response will take longer than this. We will provide the information that you request, unless disclosure is prevented by an exemption in the Freedom of Information Act.
We already make a great deal of information available on our website.
How do I request information?
You can ask to see any information we hold by contacting us at:
Freedom of Information
Will there be a charge?
Most FOI requests do not incur a charge. We only charge for photocopying, printing and postage, and only if these amount to more than £20.00. We do not charge for our time, but if it would take more than 18 hours work we are not obliged to provide the information. In such cases we will contact you and discuss an alternative.
If the information is already publicly available we will inform you of this. In these cases our normal charges may be applicable.
What happens then?
Once we receive your request, we will contact you to let you know. We will identify what information we hold that answers your question. We respond to your request within 20 working days. If we do not hold the information you want, or if it is already publicly available, we will tell you. Normally, we simply provide the information you have asked for. If we do not understand your question we will ask for more details. If any charge applies, we will inform you of this; you then have three months in which to pay to receive the information. We will tell you if any of the information is exempt under the Freedom of Information Act. Occasionally it may take longer than 20 working days to assess whether any exemptions apply; if so we will inform you of this within 20 working days.
Is any information exempt?
The Act contains a number of exemptions. Some of these are ‘absolute’. If the information falls into one of these categories we are not obliged to release it under the Freedom of Information Act. Others are ‘qualified’. If the information falls into one of these categories we have to decide whether the public interest lies in releasing or withholding the information. In these cases we only apply the exemption if there is a genuine risk of harm or prejudice. If we decide that the public interest lies in withholding the information, we will explain to you which exemption applies.
What if I’m not satisfied with the response?
If you want to make a complaint about any exemptions applied to your request for information under FOI, or about how we handled your request, you should first contact us at:
Freedom of Information
We will acknowledge your complaint, consider it carefully and then give you our decision. If information has been withheld, we may either decide to release it or decide that it should still be withheld, by reference to the Freedom of Information Act.
If you are not satisfied with our response, you may then contact:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Cheshire SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 if you prefer to use a national rate number
Please note that we reserve the right to publish a copy of the information we give you under FOI on our website or by any other means.