Freedom of information
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) promotes openness in government and establishes a right of access for individuals to information that we hold. Under the FOIA Wyre Council has an obligation to disclose as much information as possible to the public, subject to certain exemptions.
You can find a range of information that the council produces via its Publication Scheme, and it is recommended that you refer to this first for information you require. If you do not find what you are looking for then please follow the guidance below.
Requests for Information under the FOIA
All requests for information need to be in writing (this includes fax and email) and must include:
- your name,
- a correspondence address
- a clear description of the information you are requesting
You can make a request by:
- Email to firstname.lastname@example.org with FOI Request in the Subject Line
- Post to Freedom of Information Act, Wyre Council, Civic Centre, Breck Road, Poulton-le-Fylde FY6 7PU
We will strive to disclose as much information as possible, though some information may be exempt from disclosure. We will always inform you if an exemption applies, and why. You do have a right of appeal against a decision.
After the Council receives your request, we have 20 working days to respond to it. We will acknowledge your request within two working days and provide you with a date within which you can expect a reply. We can extend this time-limit by a reasonable period if the request is complicated and we need more time to consider the public-interest test on some of the exemptions.
Details of your request will be kept for up to three years, in order to take account for any appeal procedures. Where possible we shall ensure the information we hold is anonymous when it is used for statistical purposes aimed at improving our services. Your details may be shared with those who are involved in answering your request, though they will not be made public.
Exemptions on disclosure
There are exemptions which may be relevant to your request. Remember that an answer to a Freedom of Information request is made to the wider public, not just the person who has made the request. Some of the more commonly used exemptions relate to:
- Personal information, where disclosure of the information requested would breach the Data Protection Act.
- Information provided to us in confidence, such as a complaint about noise, where the information may identify the complainant.
- Information which if disclosed, would prejudice our enforcement investigations.
- Information which if disclosed would put our staff at risk.
- Information which if disclosed would prejudice the commercial interests of the Council or its partners.
However, each request will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Full details of the exemptions can be found from the Information Commissioner's Office
Appealing a decision
If you are not happy with how your request has been handled or how an exemption has been applied, you can appeal this decision. To do so contact us within two months of receiving your reply. We shall then reconsider your request and issue a decision accordingly. FOI legislation does not define a time period for conducting a review only stating that the period be ‘ reasonable and subject to regular review.’ The ICO guidance states that an internal review should take no longer than 20 working days in most cases or 40 in exceptional cases. The council aims to carry out reviews within 20 working days commencing the day after receipt of a valid request for review.
If you remain disatisfied, you can contact the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to consider your request. Note that, as a rule, the ICO will not consider appeals unless our appeal procedure has been exhausted.
Charging for information
In most cases there will be no charge for copies of information. However, we may charge for disbursement costs.
If the amount of information requested is particularly complicated or takes excessive staff hours to collect or collate, a charge could incur. If the request will cost more than £450 to locate, retrieve and extract the information then we can refuse to comply with your request, though we shall also advise you on how you may be able to refine your request. When considering the costs we charge staff time at £25 an hour. If any charges do apply, we will inform you as soon as possible.
Applications under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR)
The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 offer comparable rights of access to information as the Freedom of Information Act, but they apply when the requested information relates to the state of the environment. Wyre Council can charge a reasonable amount for supplying information.
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