Freedom of Information Details

Time limits for freedom of information requests

We must respond to your request within 20 working days.

This ‘clock’ can be stopped if we have to come back to you to seek clarification of your request or for payment of a fee. It won’t start again until we  have received your clarification or fee.

Limits on the number of requests

There are no limits on the number of requests a person can make, although there may be charges levied for multiple requests received from the same individual or organisation.

Repeated requests from the same person regarding the same information may  be refused.

Requests which are considered to be vexatious or intended to disrupt the work of the Council may also be refused.


Most of the information in the Publication Scheme will be provided free of charge. If there is a charge details will be included in the Scheme.

If you require paper copies of documents we may charge you 10p a copy and the cost of postage and packing. If the information is available electronically and you are happy to receive it by email there will be no charge.

Requests which will take longer than 18 hours to locate and prepare may be refused. We will assist you in refining your request so it can be completed in under 18 hours.

Our Fees and Charges document provides more information.


We can withhold information if an exemption applies. There are two types of exemption under FOI:

  • Qualified exemptions
  • Absolute exemptions

Where a qualified exemption applies, we are required to undertake a Public Interest Test where we must consider whether " in all circumstances … the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing it."

If we decide that the public interest in disclosing the information is sufficient then we will release the information. If we decide that the need to withhold the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing it  then we will contact you and explain our reasons for withholding it.

Examples of Exemptions

Absolute exemptions: We are not required to undertake a public interest test when the information requested is Personal information

  • Information provided in confidence about the person making the request
  • Information which is easily accessible by other means e.g. from the web site
  • Information otherwise prohibited by law.

Qualified exemptions: A public interest test is required where the information might be withheld on the grounds of

  • Health and Safety
  • Legal Professional Privilege
  • Commercial Interests
  • Personal Information held about third parties.