Requests for Information

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Requests for Information

All requests should be made to the Clerk and must include details of the applicant and the information required. The Parish Council will respond to all requests within 20 days.

Requests to view documents may be made in writing or by emailing the Parish Clerk.  If required, an appointment will be arranged at a mutually convenient time and place.

Charges may be made for actual disbursements incurred such as:

    • photocopying
    • postage and packaging
    • the costs directly incurred as a result of viewing information

The council reserves the right to withhold the issue of copies until the appropriate fee has been received.

Contact Details

Requests should be sent to either of the following:

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

or

The Parish Clerk
Bramley Parish Council
PO Box 6967
Tadley
RG24 4XG

How to Access Information from a public body

For more information on How to Access Information, please refer to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) at:

https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/official-information/

The notes below are taken from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and you should refer to the link above for the latest advice.

What should I do before I make a request?

You can ask for any information you choose, at any time, but you may not always succeed in getting it. Before you make a request, it may help to consider the following questions.

  • Is the information you want already available, for example, on the authority’s website? 
    Authorities must make certain information routinely available. You can find out what information is available by checking the authority’s publication scheme or guide to information. Do this by looking at its website or by contacting the authority.
  • Is the information you want your own personal data? 
    If your request is for information about yourself, such as your medical records, you should make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act.
  • Is the authority likely to have the information? 
    It may save you time if you check with the authority whether it is likely to have the information you want. For example, you may not be sure whether the information you want is held by your district council or the county council. Public authorities must give reasonable advice and assistance to anyone asking for information, so you should feel free to ask for help in making your request.
  • Is the information you want suitable for general publication? 
    The aim of the Freedom of Information Act is to make information available to the general public. You can only obtain information that would be given to anybody who asked for it, or would be suitable for the general public to see.
  • Some information, such as records about a dead relative, or documents you need for legal purposes, may not always be available under the Act. However, you may have a right to see the information you want under other legislation. The public authority holding the information you want should advise you.

What are the legal requirements for a request?

For your request to be dealt with according to the Freedom of Information Act, you must:

  • contact the relevant authority directly;
  • make the request in writing, for example in a letter or an email. You can make a verbal or written request for environmental information;
  • give your real name; and
  • give an address to which the authority can reply. This can be a postal or email address.

You do not have to:

  • mention the Freedom of Information Act or Environmental Information Regulations, although it may help to do so;
  • know whether the information is covered by the Freedom of Information Act or the Environmental Information Regulations; or
  • say why you want the information.

Can a public authority charge for a request?

Yes, a public authority can charge you for the costs of sending the information, such as photocopying and postage. These are known as 'disbursements'.

Information request dos and don’ts

We have produced the following list of dos and don’ts as a quick reference tool to help users make effective freedom of information requests.

Your request will be much more effective if it is clear, specific, focused and unthreatening.

Do

Don't

Find out who to send your request to. If you address your request directly to the appropriate contact within the authority then you may receive a prompter response. Use offensive or threatening language.
Include your name, address and other contact details in the request. Level unfounded accusations at the authority or its staff.
Clearly state that you are making your request under the Freedom of Information Act/Environmental Information Regulations. Make personal attacks against employees.
Be as specific as possible about the information you want rather than asking general questions. Try to include details such as dates and names whenever you can. It may also assist the authority in identifying the information if you explain the purpose behind your request. Use FOI to reopen grievances which have already been fully addressed by the authority, or subjected to independent investigation with no evidence of wrongdoing being found.
Re-read your request to check for any wording which is unclear or open to interpretation. Make assumptions about how the authority organises its information or tell them how to search for the information you want.
Use straightforward, polite language; avoid basing your request or question on assumptions or opinions, or mixing requests with complaints or comments. Bury your request in amongst lengthy correspondence on other matters or underlying complaints
Specify whether you have any preferences as to how you would like to receive the information, for example if you would prefer a paper copy or to receive an email. Use requests as a way of ‘scoring points’ against an authority
Give the authority ample opportunity to address any previous requests you have made before submitting new ones. Send ‘catch-all’ requests for information (such as ‘please provide me with everything you hold about ‘x’) when you aren’t sure what specific documents to ask for. If in doubt, try searching on the authority’s website or enquiring whether any indexes and file lists are available. Alternatively, ask the authority for some advice and assistance in framing your request.
Stay focused on the line of enquiry you are pursuing. Don’t let your attention start to drift onto issues of minor relevance. Submit frivolous or trivial requests; remember that processing any information request involves some cost to the public purse.
Think about whether making a request is the best way of achieving what you want. If you have an underlying complaint then it may be better to just take your complaint to the relevant ombudsman and let them investigate. Disrupt a public authority by the sheer weight of requests or the volume of information requested. Whether you are acting alone or in concert with others, this is a clear misuse of the Act and an abuse of your ‘right to know’.
Aim to be flexible if the authority advises that it can’t meet the full request on cost grounds and asks you to narrow it down. Try to work with the organisation to produce a streamlined version of the request which still covers the core information that is most importance to you. Deliberately ‘fish’ for information by submitting a very broad or random requests in the hope it will catch something noteworthy or otherwise useful. Requests should be directed towards obtaining information on a particular issue, rather than relying on pot luck to see if anything of interest is revealed.
  Make repeat requests unless circumstances, or the information itself, have changed to the extent that there are justifiable grounds to ask for the information again.

What happens after I make my request?

The authority must reply to you within 20 working days. It may:

  • give you the information you’ve asked for;
  • tell you it doesn’t have the information;
  • tell you that another authority holds the information or transfer the request on your behalf;
  • under the Freedom of Information Act, say that it has the information and offer to provide it if you pay them a fee (but there are rules about what they can charge);
  • under the Environmental Information Regulations, make a reasonable charge for providing information in accordance with their published schedule of charges. Note: If the authority allows you to view a public register or other information in person, at a place of their choice, it cannot charge for this;
  • refuse to give you the information, and explain why; or,
  • under the Freedom of Information Act, say that it needs more time to consider the public interest in disclosing or withholding the information, and tell you when to expect a response. This should not be later than 40 working days after the date of your request. It can only extend the time limit in certain circumstances, and it must explain why it thinks the information may be exempt;
  • under the Environmental Information Regulations, say that it needs more time as the information requested is particularly complex and there is a lot of information to provide. In such cases the time limit can be extended by a further 20 working days as long as the authority respond within the initial time limit stating when it believes it will be able to respond in full.

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