Follow these tips to get a successful outcome for your request for information.
Freedom of Information requests
Your request must be:
- In writing, giving your real name and address
- A request for information from our records, rather than our unrecorded knowledge, opinion or advice
If your request relates to environmental information, it can be made orally but it will help us if you make it in writing in the same way as a Freedom of Information request.
If your request is to obtain your own personal information, it will be handled under the Data Protection Act.
For routine enquiries try telephoning the relevant council department and asking them first.
If they are able to give you an answer, this will be much quicker. Requests under the legislation can take up to 20 working days.
Being clear and precise in your request
Be as clear and precise as possible when you make your request.
There is no obligation to say why you want the information. However, it may help us to find the information more quickly if you do.
Under the Act we only have to answer a request for information if it will take us up to 18 hours to answer.
If it will take us longer than 18 hours to find, access and gather the information, we may refuse to answer your request.
There is no time limit under the Environmental Information Regulations, but we may refuse a request if it will be very costly.
Repeated or vexatious requests
We can refuse to answer repeated requests or vexatious requests.
Repeated requests are identical or substantially similar requests made by the same person within a short timeframe.
We consider the following to decide if a request is vexatious:
- Is the request obsessive?
- Is the request harassing us or causing distress to staff?
- Would complying with the request impose a significant burden in terms of expense and distraction?
- Is the request designed to cause disruption or annoyance?
- Does the request lack any serious purpose or value?