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Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act (FOI) came fully into force on 1 January 2005. It gives you the right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities. As a local authority, we will comply with the Act.

What is Freedom of Information (FOI)?

The act intends to promote a culture of openness and accountability in public authorities, by providing people with rights of access to all types of recorded information.

Under the FOI legislation we have to produce a Publication Scheme. The aim of the scheme is to make a significant amount of information available, without the need for the public to make a specific request.

What information is covered by FOI?

All information we hold is covered by FOI. There are only three reasons why we would not provide information if it was requested. These are:

  • the information requested is exempt from disclosure
  • the request is considered a nuisance, unreasonable or repeated
  • the required fee is not paid within three months

How do I request information?

There will be no change to the way you request information that is routinely available. Simply contact the relevant section or department for the information you need.

However, if you wish to make a request for information under FOI legislation, your request will have to be in writing. This can be a letter, fax or email.

These requests will normally be for information that is not routinely available. To help us to identify FOI requests, please state "Freedom of Information" at the top of your letter, fax or email. We have to deal with these requests within 20 working days.

Please send your FOI requests to :

The Freedom of Information Officer
South Derbyshire District Council
Civic Offices
Civic Way
Swadlincote
Derbyshire
DE11 0AH

Fax: 01283 595854 
email: FOI@south-derbys.gov.uk

Will I be charged for information?

If expenses such as photocopying are more than £10 or staff costs are more than £450, we pass these on to you. This is in line with the regulations.

We will tell you if we will make a charge, so that you can decide whether to carry on with the request. We have the right to withhold information if you do not pay the charge.

What information is exempt from disclosure?

There are 23 exemptions where information would not have to be provided. These fall into two categories.

  • Qualified exemptions. This category is subject to a public interest test. This is where we will look at whether the balance of public interest is weighted in favour of giving the information requested. Where this is found to be the case, the information will be given.

  • Absolute exemptions. These are unquestionable exemptions

What happens if a request for information is turned down?

We will tell the applicant why we have turned down the request, quoting any relevant exemptions. The applicant then has a right of appeal, initially under the council's internal appeals procedure. (see Freedom of Information Complaints Procedure below)

If after the appeal, the information is still not disclosed, the applicant can ask the Information Commissioner to review the decision. The Information Commissionerís Office is the Government department that oversees and enforces FOI.

Where can I find out more information on FOI?

You can visit the Information Commissioner's Office or contact the Freedom of Information Officer at South Derbyshire District Council using the details below.

Contact details

The Freedom of Information Officer
South Derbyshire District Council
Civic Offices
Civic Way
Swadlincote
Derbyshire
DE11 0AH

Tel: 01283 595864 
Fax: 01283 595854 
Online: contact form
email: FOI@south-derbys.gov.uk  

Page ref: LGSL 722

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