Freedom of Information requests
Making a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities including Waveney District Council. The Act came into force on 1st January 2005.
Any person making a request for information to a public authority is entitled to be informed whether the public authority holds that information, and, subject to certain exemptions, be supplied with that information.
Under the Act a response is to be made within 20 working days.
From January 2005, the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) has given every citizen the right to request information from public sector organisations, including Government, Local Authorities, the National Health Service, Schools, the Police and the Fire Service. You can use this and other legislation to request information from Waveney District Council.
How do I make an FOI request?
A request must be made in writing by
Before submitting your request, please check our Frequently Requested Information page as the information you require may already be available.
Please note that Waveney District Council works in partnership with Suffolk Coastal District Council and shares an FOI team. You may make a request to either or both authorities using the above form: please tick the appropriate box(es) on the form.
If the requestor does not have internet access, they may make a request in writing to the contact address on the left hand side of this page, clearly indicating whether they would like to request information from Waveney District Council, Suffolk Coastal District Council or both authorities.
FOI/EIR performance statistics
Quarterly performance statistics for FOI/EIR requests. Statistics for the last two complete years plus current year will be retained.
I have a query regarding FOI/EIR Requests
Please follow the link to our query form which you should submit if you have questions about any of the following:
You think we have published information but are unable to locate it on the website
You have an outstanding request with us and have extra information or clarification to add
You have not received a response to a request which was submitted more than 20 working days ago.
You have received a response to an FOI/EIR request which is unclear or incomplete
Any other query regarding FOI/EIR requests.
N.B. if as a result of a response from us you have FURTHER questions, please submit these as a new FOI/EIR request using the form above.
Will I be charged?
We only charge for the provision of information where this is specifically allowed for under legislation or, to recover the costs of any photocopying, printing postage or other costs incurred in supplying the information. Charges are detailed in the Council's Fees and charges book.
Most information requests will generally be processed free of charge. We do not normally charge for officer time spent answering your request, however we may charge if it would involve more than 18 hours work. In such cases we will contact you to inform you of this.
How long will it take to get the information?
Under the Freedom of Information Act, we are obliged to respond to requests within 20 working days. We may ask for clarification if we are unclear about the information you require.
We will either provide the information you have asked for or let you know if:
- we do not hold the information
- it is already publicly available
- any fee/charge applies
- some or all of the information is exempt from disclosure and why
If some or all of the information you have requested is exempt it may take us longer than 20 working days to apply the public interest test. We will inform you of how long this may take.
Can I have all the information I ask for?
We will try to make as much information available as possible. However, we may sometimes have a good reason for withholding information.
The Act contains a number of exemptions. Some of these are 'absolute'. If the information falls into one of these categories we are not obliged to release it. Others are 'qualified exemptions'. If the information falls into one of these categories we have to decide whether the public interest lies in releasing or withholding the information.
There are various reasons why information may be withheld. Some examples are where:
- the law says we must not release it
- disclosure would:
- breach confidentiality or contravene the Data Protection Act
- harm the effective conduct of public affairs, the economy, commercial interests, law enforcement and investigations, health & safety, the environment, national security or defence
- we intend to publish the information in the future
- the information is available elsewhere
If we decide to withhold information, we will tell you why and explain your rights of appeal.
Can I request the information you hold about me?
Information that we hold about you is exempt under Freedom of Information, but you have the right of subject access under the Data Protection Act.
Please check our Data Protection page for advice on how to make a Subject Access Request.
Will information be communicated in the format I require?
We will usually send you the information electronically if you supply an email address. If you require a specific format (e.g. large print) then please ask us and we will endeavour to accommodate your request
Can I re-use the information you supply?
The Freedom of Information Act gives you the right to access information but it does not give you the right to make any further use of that information without permission.
Some of the information we give you may be covered by our copyright, and some of it may be covered by other people's copyright. The information may only be used for your own personal purposes. If you wish to re-use any of the information you must gain express permission. Your request for re-use will be considered by our legal team.
If you are considering re-using the information you have requested, please see our page on Re-Use of Public Sector Information for how to gain permission.
We may publish a copy of the information we give you on our website.
What if I'm not satisfied with the response?
If you disagree with any exemptions applied to your request for information under FoIA, or are not satisfied with how we have handled your request, you have a right of appeal - please see our "appeals and complaints" page.
If you simply have a query about our response then please contact us within 20 working days of the date of response - any queries raised after this time will be treated as a new request.
Contacting the Information Commissioner
The Information Commissioner may be contacted at:
Tel: 0303 123 1113
Fax: 01625 524510