Freedom of Information

The Laceby Parish Council’s Freedom of Information Policy Document is detailed below:


Document’s Purpose: –         To support the access to information requests by

members of the public.

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION POLICY

 

Introduction

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives everyone a right of access to the recorded information held by Councils including the Laceby Parish Council.  It sets out exemptions from that right and places a number of obligations on us as a Parish Council.

 

This Policy Document is therefore a framework through which information under the Act may be managed effectively.

 

This Policy is set out to ensure that the Council continues to follow the provisions of the Act by making:-

  • available routine information such as Minutes of Council meetings readily available to members of the public, via our web site and notice board

 

  • providing other information not available via our web site and notice board on request within the timescales of the Act, subject to any exceptions and public interest.

 

  • it is the intention of the Council to ensure that this Policy Document is supplemental to the Data Protection Act and the Parish Council’s recorded management of data held.

 

The Freedom of Information Officer

The Laceby Parish Council’s Freedom of Information Officer is their Clerk to the Council.

The Freedom of Information Officer is responsible for:-

 

  • the management of requests under this Act,

 

  • making disclosed information easily accessible to others, and

 

  • ensuring this process is completed in a timely manner.

 

Charges for the Provision of Information

Information requests may be made to the Clerk to the Laceby Parish Council via email – lacebyparishcouncil@gmail.com  or via the Royal Mail at 62 Thorganby Road Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire DN35 0HH

The majority of information provided by the Laceby Parish Council under their Publication Scheme will be provided free of charge, unless otherwise specified (usually Formal Requests see page 3) whereby a disbursement fee may be applied.

 

The Laceby Parish Council’s Publication Scheme

The Parish Council’s Publication Scheme is based on the ICO’s model scheme and is reviewed annually.

 

Personal Information /Data Protection

Requests from an individual for access for information specifically about themselves (i.e. personal information) will be process as a Subject to Access Request in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Any request for personal information about another individual must ensure the third parties rights under the Data Protection Act are not breached in any way.

 

Formal Requests for Information

Where a formal request is made to the Parish Council for specific information, not available through the Publication Scheme, the applicant has the following rights, subject to any exemptions:

a)           to be told whether the information is held by the Parish Council;          and

b)           to receive that information.

Anyone can make a request for information. The request must be in writing (including e-mail) and specify the applicants name and contact details and the information they require.

The Parish Council will provide applicants with advice or assistance to help them make and pursue their requests.

The Laceby Parish Council reserves the right to charge an appropriate fee for dealing with a formal request for information.  Any fee charged will be in accordance with the Parish Council’s Charging Policy for Information. The Parish Council is not required to comply with a request for a number of related requests where the cumulative cost of complying with the requests would exceed the appropriate limit.

The Council may decide that some of the information it holds is exempt or excepted from disclosure, and withhold the requested information. The Parish Council will only withhold the specific information to which the exemption or exception applies.

Where disclosure of information would affect a third party, the Council may consult with them, if appropriate, to determine if and how it should be disclosed.

 

  • The Parish Council should only accept information from third parties in confidence if it is necessary to obtain that information in connection with the exercise of any of its functions and it would not otherwise be provided.  In addition, the council should not agree to hold information received from third parties ‘in confidence’ which is not confidential in nature.  Acceptance of any confidentiality provisions must be for reasons that can be justified to the Information Commissioner.

 

  • When entering into contracts the Parish Council should refuse to include contractual terms which purport to restrict the disclosure of information held by the Council and relating to the contract beyond the restrictions permitted by the Act.

 

Where the Parish Council applies an exemption or exception to the disclosure of information, we will provide an explanation of its use and if appropriate the public interest factors, for and against disclosure, taken into account before reaching the decision.

If a request is deemed to be repeated or vexatious, then the Parish Council may refuse to comply with the request. Where a request is refused it will be in accordance with the guidelines set out by the ICO.

The Parish Council aims to resolve all requests within 20 working days, including those where it is necessary to consider the public interest in the application of an exemption or exception. This may be extended if clarification is required or fees are due.

Officers are expected to deal with requests promptly and not delay responding until the end of the 20 working day period if the information can reasonably be provided earlier. In those circumstances where it is not possible to deal with a request within 20 working days, the Council must:

 

  • provide a realistic and reasonable estimate of when a response will be provided;
  • explain clearly the reason(s) for the delay; and
  • not exceed 40 working days.

 

Complaints Procedure

The Clerk to the Laceby Parish Council will bring before the Parish Council any complaints received in respect of the Freedom of Information.

An applicant may write a letter of complain if they consider that:-

 

  • the Parish Council is not complying with its Publication Scheme; or
  • they are unhappy with the handling or the outcome of their request.

 

A complaint will be acknowledged within three working days, and a full response provided within 20 working days.

If an applicant is dissatisfied with the outcome of the internal review by the Parish Council they may seek an independent review from the Information Commissioner by writing to:

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

 

Review of the Policy

This policy and the supporting guidance will be reviewed every year by the

Proper Officer of the Parish Council.

 

Contacts

Any queries regarding this Policy Document should be directed to:-

The Clerk to Laceby Parish Council

62 Thorganby Road

Cleethorpes

North East Lincolnshire

DN35 0HH

 

E-mail:- lacebyparishcouncil@gmail.com

 

Appendix 1

 

The following terms are used within this policy

 

Term Meaning
The Act the Freedom of Information Act 2000
The Parish Council Laceby Parish Council
Formal Request means a written request for information under the provisions of the Act
ICO refers to the regulatory body for the Act, the Information Commissioner’s Officer

 

 

Appendix 2

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, there are 23 exemptions which may mean we are not able to provide the information you have requested, or we may only be able to provide part of it.

For some of the exemptions we have a duty to consider whether disclosure is in the public interest.

The Public Interest Test requires us to decide whether the public interest in withholding the information out weighs the public interest in releasing it, we will consider the circumstances of each case and the exemption that covers the information. The balance will lie in favour of disclosure. Listed below are the exemptions which may apply to your request.

Absolute Exemptions

No Public Interest Test is applied:

  • Section 21 – information accessible by other means
  • Section 23 – information supplied by or relating to bodies dealing with security matters
  • Section 32 – court records
  • Section 34 – parliamentary privilege
  • Section 40 – personal information
  • Section 41 – information provided in confidence
  • Section 44 – prohibitions on disclosure

Qualified Exemptions

A Public Interest Test is applied:

  • Section 22 – information intended for future publication
  • Section 24 – national security
  • Section 26 – defence
  • Section 27 – international relations
  • Section 28 – relations within the United Kingdom
  • Section 29 – the economy
  • Section 30 – investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities
  • Section 31 – law enforcement
  • Section 33 – audit functions
  • Section 35 – formulation of government policy
  • Section 36 – conduct of public affairs
  • Section 37 – communications with Her Majesty and honours
  • Section 38 – health and safety
  • Section 39 – environmental information
  • Section 42 – legal professional privilege
  • Section 43 – commercial interests

September 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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