Requests must be in writing but this can be by letter or email. We may need to ask you a few questions to make sure we give you exactly what you want.
You don’t have to tell us why you want the information but it will help to give as much detail as possible so that we can deal with your request as quickly as we can.
You can ask us a question rather than making a request for specific documents, however we don’t have to answer questions if this means creating new information or giving an opinion or judgment that is not already recorded.
Some information may not be given to you because it is exempt from the FOIA, for example because it would unfairly reveal personal details about somebody else. Further information about exemptions can be found on the Information Commissioner’s web site.
We have a duty to inform you whether or not we hold the information and to provide you with the information within 20 working days. If we don’t have the information we’ll let you know as soon as possible and, if we can, we’ll let you know where else you might find it.
If we need clarification to help us deal with the request, the 20 working day time limit will stop until we receive clarification from you. If we don’t receive clarification within three months we’ll assume you no longer require the information.
We don’t have to comply with vexatious requests – this means repeated, unreasonable or nuisance requests.
Please feel free to contact us for more information.
Do I have to pay?
We are committed to making as much information available as possible free of charge, however we can charge for actual costs incurred such as photocopying or postage and packaging costs.
A charge can also be made if a significant amount of staff time is needed to fulfil your request. If the cost of locating and providing the information would exceed £450 (18 hours of staff time), we can refuse to process your request or we can request that you pay the full cost of the search.
If we need to charge for the information, a fees notice will be issued stating how much the cost will be. The 20 working day time limit will stop until the fee is received. If the fee is not paid within three months, we’ll assume you no longer require the information. The fees that we can charge are set out in the Freedom of Information Fees Regulations 2004. Further information on charging is available on the Information Commissioner’s website.