Make a Freedom of Information request
How can I make a request?
You can make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by completing our online FOI request form.
What do I need to know before applying?
Your Freedom of Information request must:
- Be in writing (including email, letter, fax, or electronic form)
- Include your full name
- Include your address for correspondence (a phone number or email address is also useful if we need to clarify your request)
- Provide a description of the information required with as much detail as possible
- Tell us what format you would like to receive the information in (For example, on paper, by email, and so on)
What happens next?
Once we have received your request we will begin working to gather the necessary information.
We will aim respond to your request for information within 20 workings days or having received it. Your request will be dealt with according to the requirements of the Data Protection Act. In some cases the timescale for response may be extended to 40 days.
Can you refuse my request?
There are circumstances when we may not release the information you have requested.
We will not release information when:
- we do not hold the information, or
- the cost of providing the information to you is greater than the limit set by government, or
- the request for information is a repeated request, or it is a vexatious request (that is, a request which is for annoyance only), or
- if an exemption (see below) applies to the information
The Act describes some types of information which may be withheld even though it has been requested under the Act. This information is known as exempt information. Exemptions can be one of two types: either absolute, or qualified.
If an absolute exemption applies to information, there is no right of access to that information under FOI. However this may be because the information is available another way because we have already made it available through our publication scheme, or because the information may be available under the Data Protection Act.
Examples of information with absolute exemption include:
- information accessible to the applicant by other means
- information about the applicant
- information provided in confidence
If a qualified exemption applies we are required to apply what is known as the 'public interest test'. The test weighs up the public interest in withholding the information against the public interest in disclosing it.
Examples of information with qualified exemption include:
- information intended for future publication
- investigations and proceedings
- law enforcement
- health and safety
- commercial interest
Full list of exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act.
Freedom of Information