Tips for asking FOI requests

The following tips are aimed at helping you get the information you want from the Council.

The Information Commissioner provides information on how to access information from a public body

List of Tips

  • First, have a look on the Publication Scheme. This is a list of what we publish as a matter of course. This will link you to many documents/information from across the website.
  • Your request must be in writing and include your name and a return address. This can either be an email or postal address.
  • If you have problems with writing, contact the Information Governance Manager who will help you write the request.
  • You do not have to make a formal request in order to receive information. If you have a routine enquiry you can call the Contact Centre on 01276 707100.
  • You do not have to say it is an FOI request but it may help direct your request internally and focus the reply.
  • Remember the Council has up to 20 working days in which to respond to an FOI request but will endeavour to respond as quickly as possible. The first working day after the request is received will be the first day. Public holidays and bank holidays in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are counted as non-working days. We will acknowledge its receipt though.
  • Please make your request as clear and specific as possible. You do not have to say why you want the information but it can help us focus on finding the information you are most interested in. We may, if necessary, write back asking for clarification. When this happens the request will be put on hold. If after three months no response has been received the request will be closed.
  • Your request must be for information and not opinion. Under the FOI Act the Council is not obliged to write new reports in order to extract the information from our systems. This is particularly relevant where you are asking for statistics. In some cases we may only be to able to supply raw data.
  • If to locate the information will take more than 18 hours we can refuse the request or submit a fees request. We will try and offer advice and assistance to refine (change or narrow) your request. When writing a request do not ask for everything on a particular subject as it may take too long to find. Remember you have a right to information and not documents. It is possible a request for all emails or documents on a particular subject is may be refused.
  • If you wish to talk to us before making an FOI request for further advice please contact us on 01276 707100.