About Information Requests
Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) you have a right to request any recorded information held the Council.
You may find that the information you have requested has been previously requested. Where information has been requested, we aim to publish it in line with the Local Government Transparency Code. To search for previously requested information, please see our Information Disclosure Log.
If you have requested information that relates to services not provided by us then we may suggest that you contact the relevant authority if we are unable to assist.
How do I make an information request?
If you are requesting general information then the request must be made in writing. You can make a verbal or written request for environmental information. However, the quickest way to make a request is by completing our online make an information request form.
Your request will be answered within 20 working days of the Council receiving the request. For more information, please see the Information Commissioner’s (ICO) page on how to access information from a public body.
Can I see all information held by the Council?
This may not always be the case. Sometimes there will be valid reasons why some kinds of information may be withheld but we will tell you if an exemption is being relied on and why. Additionally, for some exemptions we must consider and tell you whether the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the interest in releasing it and reasons for this.
In addition, the FOIA and EIR do not provide a right of access to personal information about you. This is instead available under the Data Protection Act again, subject to certain exemptions and can be requested via our Subject Access Requests page.
For more information on when the Council can refuse a request, please see the ICO’s page on will I always get the information I ask for?
If you wish to make a complaint about the way your request has been dealt with please:
- email - Freedom.ofInformation@eastherts.gov.uk or
- phone - 01279 655261 and ask to speak to the Information Governance and Data Protection Manager
Please quote the information request number, title of the information request and date when the original request for information was made.
We ask that you please write to us first and do so as soon as possible so that we can carry out an internal review. Following this, if you are still not satisfied with the outcome of your request, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Tips for successful information requests
To ensure that your request can be dealt with efficiently, we recommend that you consider the ICO’s information request dos and don’ts.
If your request does lack any serious or clear purpose or if it is not focused on acquiring information, then the FOIA and EIR are probably not an appropriate means through which to pursue your concern. It might be better to explore whether there are other more suitable channels through which to take up the issue with us.
If you are planning to ask for a large volume of information, or make a very general request, you should first consider whether you could narrow or refocus the scope of the request, as this may help you get what you want. Alternatively, please contact us for advice and assistance to help you reduce the scope of the request.