When to make an FOI request
Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Council must publish information about who we are, what we do, how we make decisions and how we operate. Find out where we do this on the publication scheme page.
If you want to know something we haven’t published, you can submit a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
We welcome enquiries from the public, but FOI requests take time for the Council to answer. Before you make an FOI request, please check Resources section, and the FOI library, as we may have already published the answer.
How do I make a request?
You have the right to ask for information held by us that has not been published under open data. Unless it is exempt, we must provide it to you within 20 working days.
- Your request should be in writing (this includes email). Please include a name and address for us to send our reply. It’s also helpful to include a telephone number.
- The best way to make a request is through our online Freedom Of Information request form
- You can make your request by post by writing to the Freedom of Information Officer, Ryedale House, Malton, North Yorkshire, YO17 7HH
- You can email the Freedom of Information Officer on email@example.com.
You can ask for help in phrasing your question so that you get the information you want. You can also ask for a specific format that you’d like the information (photocopy, email etc) and we will help if we can.
How does the process work?
- If we need more information about what you want, we will contact you as soon as we can. Once we know exactly what you want, you should receive it within 20 working days.
- If we do not hold the information we will let you know. If we can, we will transfer your request to someone who does.
- If we hold the information and there is no reason to withhold it, we will send it to you in 20 working days. If there is likely to be a delay for any reason, we will let you know.
- If we believe that there is a good reason why the information should not be disclosed, we will tell you. We will let you know as much as we can about how we reached our decision.
Will it cost me anything?
- Not usually.
- We will charge the advertised fees for printed publications or for information held on the Local Land Charges Register, otherwise, we will not normally charge for supplying the information.
- We reserve the right to charge for photocopying or printing, according to our published list of charges
What sort of information won’t I be allowed to see?
The Freedom of Information Act allows certain types of information to be exempt from disclosure. For example:
- Information already available to the public: Where the information is available in books or magazines, particularly if someone else publishes them, you will be expected to source them yourself. Information included in the Council’s publication scheme is available in the format, and sometimes for a fee, as set out in the scheme.
- Personal information: Information covered by the Data Protection Act is only available to the subject of the information, or in the few limited circumstances permitted by law
- ‘Environmental’ information: This includes information about contaminated land, air quality, etc. This will be made available as required by the Environmental Information Regulations. There may be charges for the information.
- Confidential information: Confidential information will only be disclosed if it’s legal to do so
- Investigations and proceedings: Information held at any time for the purpose of investigating possible offences will only be disclosed if it is in the public interest
- Law Enforcement: If disclosing certain information might prejudice the prevention or detection of crime, the apprehension or prosecution of offenders, the administration of justice, or the collection or assessment of taxes etc, it will only be disclosed if it is in the public interest
- Health and Safety: If disclosing the information would prejudice the safety or the physical or mental health of an individual, the information will only be disclosed if it is in the public interest
- Legal professional privilege: Legal advice will only be disclosed if it is in the public interest
- Commercial interests: If disclosing information about trade secrets would prejudice anyone’s commercial interests, including ours, it will only be disclosed if it is in the public interest
What to do if you’re not satisfied
- If you’re not happy with the way your request has been handled, please contact the Freedom of Information Officer and your complaint will be considered by an Appeal Panel
If, after their decision, you are still not happy, you can appeal to:
The Information Commissioner