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Freedom of Information

About the Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 ("the Act") was passed on 30 November 2000. It gives a general right of access to all types of "recorded" information held by public authorities (that is, Government and other public sector organisations) sets out exemptions from that right and places a number of obligations on public authorities. Further information about the Act is available from the following FOI website (External Link)

Individuals already have the right to access information about themselves under the Data Protection Act 1998 (External Link)

The Freedom of Information Act extends these rights to allow access to all types of information public authorities hold, whether personal or non-personal. The Act is enforced by the Information Commissioner, a new post which combines Freedom of Information and Data Protection.

What does the Act do?

The Act was brought into force in two parts.

Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council has produced a ‘Publication Scheme '. This is a guide to the information routinely published by the Council. It does not list actual publications as these will change over time, instead it describes the classes or types of information we make available. The Scheme explains how we intend to publish the different classes of information and whether or not a charge applies.

The general right of access came into force from January 1 2005. Subject to the exemptions, anyone who makes a written request, including by email, must be informed whether the public authority holds that information and, if so, that information must be supplied. As the Act is fully retrospective, public authorities will be obliged to provide information recorded before and after the Act was passed.

The Act sets out 23 exemptions, eight of which are "absolute" exemptions. The remaining exemptions are subject to a public interest test, that is, the Council has a duty to consider whether disclosure is required in the public interest. Most of the exemptions will have to be considered in two stages. Firstly, the public authority will have to decide whether the exemption applies to all or part of the information requested, and, secondly, if it does apply, the authority then has to decide whether it must disclose in the public interest, irrespective of the exemptions.

Who enforces the Freedom of Information Act?

The Information Commissioner enforces this Act as well as the Data Protection Act.

To request information from the Borough Council please complete the online form

 Follow this link to access the publication scheme 

Last updated 12 March 2020

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