Request council information
Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) you have a right to request non-personal recorded information that may be held by a public authority.
This right only covers recorded information including information held on computers, in emails, in printed or handwritten documents, as well as, images, video and audio recordings.
You do not have to know whether the information you want is covered by Freedom of Information (FOI) or the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR). When you make a request for ‘official’ information, it is for us as a public authority, to decide which law we need to follow.
During the current situation we will try to meet the statutory deadlines for processing access to information requests. However, despite the easing of restrictions, it is likely that resources, whether they are finances or people, will still need to be diverted away from access to information work to deal with priority support services.
Please be patient if you experience delays when making information rights requests during the pandemic. Where practicable, we will try to notify you if there is likely to be a delay in being able to provide the information you have requested.
How to request council information
‘Freedom of information (FOI) requests’ must be made in writing. Requests for environmental information do not need to be made in writing but as it is up to us to decide whether your request falls under FOI or EIR it is advisable to send your request to us in writing.
Request council information online
Exemptions and exceptions
Under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Regulations you are able to request any non-personal recorded information held by the council or held on the council’s behalf. However, under both, there are exemptions (Know under EIR as exceptions) which can be used to withhold information if it is considered that it is not in the public interest to release it.
There are two types of exemptions – Conditional exemptions which require us to carry out a public interest test and Absolute exemptions for which a public interest is not needed.
We will notify you if we are intending to hold a public interest test, the exemptions we are, or have considered, and the public interest test decision.
Re-use of council information
Re-use of information is governed by the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015. These regulations apply to information that falls within our 'public task' as a local authority. Request for re-use should, initially, be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Categories for which re-use is not permitted
- information prohibited for release by other legislation e.g. personal and commercial information
- information where we are not the copyright owner e.g. cycle maps, cycle journey planner
- information where we have entered a commercial agreement e.g. Find my past, Staffordshire archive service
Unless otherwise indicated, information published on our website is made available for re-use subject to licence terms.
Help and advice
Please contact us if you need advice about making a request for council information, or if you need help you to put your request in writing.
You can contact us by:
Further information about requesting official information from a public body is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office web site.
Information we do and do not hold
Some information will be held by us, but you may need to contact another local authority, parish council or a private company.
Statistics about Freedom of Information Requests and Environmental Information Regulation requests are available to view.
Public interests tests
If any FOI request is potentially subject to a conditional exemption, we need to carry out a Public Interest Test.
The scheme is seperated into 7 broad categories intended to help you find information we publish.
We are committed to being open by publishing information on how we work, including money, decisions and plans.
How to make a complaint
If you consider we may not have met our requirements, the same laws give you the right to make a complaint.