Freedom of Information (FOI)
About requests for information made under the Act
Anyone can request access to recorded information held by a local authority after 1st January 2005, regardless of age, nationality or location.
Any information held by a public authority is eligible for release. However, a number of exemptions may be applied to protect information properly kept confidential.
What happens when I make a request?
When a public authority receives a request for information, they must respond as soon as possible, and not later than 20 working days after receiving your request.The public authority will consider your request, and reply. The reply should confirm or deny whether or not they hold the information, and either provide the information you requested, or explain why it has not been provided, quoting an exemption under the Act.
How many requests can I make?
The Act does not specifically limit the number of requests you can make. However Section 14 of the Act states that a public authority can reserve the right to refuse any vexatious or repeated requests. This may include repeated requests from the same person for the same information, or requests which are intended to disrupt the authority's work.
How can I use the information I receive?
What does it cost?
If you are requesting information not contained within the publication scheme, the authority may charge you a fee, as laid down in fees regulations.
These Regulations provide that requests for which "prescribed" costs will amount to less than £450 (£600 for requests to central government) will be free of charge, although public authorities may charge for the cost of photocopying and postage etc.(known as "Disbursements" in the Regulations). Lancashire County Council has decided that where disbursements amount to less than £50 the charge will be waived. Prescribed costs are staff time taken to collate information charged at a nationally specified rate of £25 per hour.
If your request is going to incur more than £450 in prescribed costs, the public authority can refuse to answer your request, answer it for free, or charge up to and including the full cost of answering.
If you refuse to pay a properly chargeable fee, the public authority can refuse to supply the information.
What happens if my request is refused?
Exemptions under Freedom of Information
The number preceded by an "s" refers to the section of the Freedom of Information Act which sets out the exemption in full detail