Freedom of Information Act 2000
What is the Freedom of Information Act?
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act entitles anybody to ask a public authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, including Government Departments, for any recorded information that they keep.
A list of organisations covered by the Act is available at the Information Commissioner’s website
This Act gives us all greater access to information about how decisions are taken in government and how public services are developed and delivered.
The FOI Act operates alongside the Data Protection Act, which allows people to access information about themselves (e.g. personnel records, or information held by credit reference agencies) and the Environmental Information Regulations, which give people access to information about the environment.
How do I ask for information?
All public authorities covered by the Freedom of Information Act have a Publication Scheme. The scheme lists the information which the public authority (Bridgend County Borough Council) routinely makes available and where the information can found including email and telephone numbers direct to the relevant department.
Check the scheme to see if the information you want has already been published. If so, we refer to it as “Business as Usual” and you can receive the information from where it is indicated in the scheme.
If the information is not included in the publication scheme than you will need to make a request for information.
All requests for information must be made in writing (e.g. letter, fax email) to firstname.lastname@example.org or Freedom of Information Office, Bridgend County Borough Council, Level 2, Civic Offices, Angel Street, Bridgend, CF31 4WB.
You must clearly state what information you are requesting and supply your name and contact details. You do not need to say why you want the information.
View recent FOI requests and responses.
What type of information can I ask to have?
You can ask to have any recorded information. This could be in the form of e-mails, notebooks, videos or tapes.
When will I receive the information?
In most cases, the council must respond to your request within 20 working days of receiving it and, if it cannot, it will explain why and let you know when you will receive a reply.
Can my request be declined?
The council will provide you with the information unless there is a good reason for not doing so (e.g. your request relates to someone else’s personal details). The exemptions are listed in the FOI Act.
The council must provide you with a reason for declining your request. If you do not find the reason persuasive, you can ask the council to reconsider its decision, and if the request is still declined you can ask the Information Commissioner’s Office to review that decision.
The Information Commissioner’s Office is an independent body that enforces the FOI Act, the Data Protection Act and the Environmental Information Regulations. For more information, visit the Information Commissioner’s website.
What format can I request information to be in?
You can say in what format you would prefer to receive the information (e.g on paper or electronically). You should discuss these formats with the individual department. In some cases, e.g. for people with disabilities, there may be entitlement to a particular format; again, you should discuss with the relevant department.
How much will it cost to make a request?
A lot of information may be supplied free of charge. However, sometimes you may have to pay a fee, either to cover administration costs, or to pay photocopying or postage costs, or because of the expense involved in finding and supplying the information. You will be told in advance if a fee will apply.