About the Freedom of Information Act 2000
This act came into force in January 2005 and confers two rights on people to request from the council:
- To be told whether the council holds certain information
- (And if so) to have it communicated to them, providing it is not exempt information
Council policy developed to comply with act
The council has developed a policy to help us comply with guidance and codes of practice in the Freedom of Information on:
- Making information accessible
- Keeping our records
Our publication scheme
Under the act the council must provide a publication scheme that details all the information we routinely or proactively make available i.e. that you do not need to make a freedom of information request for. Lincoln’s publication scheme tells the user whether or not the information is held in the scheme, what different formats it is held in and whether any charges apply. For more information, or to request a copy of this document, please contact the Legal Officer.
Visit the information commissioner’s office website for a series of advice notes on Freedom of Information procedures and exemptions.
What is covered?
All information we hold is covered by freedom of information. This includes leaflets, letters, emails, photographs, CD’s, videos, plans, even the post-it note stuck to a PC.
Reasons why we wouldn’t provide information
If a request for information is received, there are only three reasons why we would not have to provide it:
- The information request is exempt from disclosure
- The request is considered to be on insufficient grounds or repeated
- The necessary fee is not paid within three months
The criteria we will use in deciding whether we are required to provide information, include, but are not limited to:
- Amount of employee time involved
- Quantity of information involved
- Whether we consider the request is on insufficient grounds
- Whether your request has been repeated before a reasonable time has passed
- Whether your request is similar to a previous request
- Whether your request is the same or similar to a number of requests from other parties or pressure groups which appear to be part of a campaign
We will not respond to request which requires us to undertake research.
What information is exempt from disclosure?
There are 24 exemptions where information would not have to be provided. These fall into two categories:
- Absolute exemptions - This includes personal information (covered by the Data Protection Act) and information which is protected for reasons of security, commercially sensitive or legally protected
- 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. Where this is so, the information will be given. It also includes information intended for future publication