Freedom of information
How do I request information under the Freedom of Information Act?
Your request must be made in writing (using our online form, by letter or e-mail) and should contain:
- your name;
- your email or postal address
- a clear indication of the information you are interested in.
You can send your requests to Freedom of Information:
What information can I get?
Unless it is exempt you will be able to get any information that the City Council holds.
This can include:
- Our policies and plans
- How we handle issues and make decisions
- Financial information
- Our performance
A lot of information is already publicly available through our Publication Scheme.
If we don't hold the information you ask for, we will try to help you to find where you need to go for it.
Can I get personal information that the City Council holds on me?
Not under the Freedom of Information Act. Please visit our Data Protection pages for information on how to access your personal information.
Is there any information I cannot get?
You may not be able to get the information you request if it is exempt. You can find out more details about the exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act from the Information Commissioner's website.
If we decide that we cannot disclose the information you have requested, we will explain the reasons for our decision.
How much will it cost?
We will deal with most requests free of charge. However, if the request takes us more than 18 hours to satisfy, we may make a charge. We may also charge you for the cost of copying, printing, postage or translating the information where this is significant. We will tell you about any charges before we start work on your request. The same charges will apply to requests for environmental information.
How quickly will I get the information?
We are required to respond to FOI requests within 20 working days.
What can I do if I am not happy with the Council's decision on my request?
If you are not happy with the outcome of your request, you can make a complaint through the City Council's FOI internal review procedure. We will provide you with details of how to complain when we respond to your request.
Internal reviews will be carried out by a review panel, which will comprise of at least two officers, who have not been directly involved with the initial decision process.
We will acknowledge your request for review within two days of receiving it and will confirm when we expect to be able to respond to your request for review. We will respond promptly and usually within 20 working days of receiving your request for review. There may be rare occasions when we are unable to respond within 20 working days, for example, very complex requests. In these cases, we will notify you of when a response can be expected.
Once the review panel has met to consider your request you will be informed of their decision, the reasons for that decision and how to make a further appeal to the Information Commissioner's Office if you are still unhappy with the outcome .
Where can I get further information?
The Information Commissioner's Office is responsible for ensuring that all public authorities comply with the Freedom of Information and Data Protection Acts. Their website provides a lot of background information and guidance on these two pieces of legislation.
If you need advice on making an FOI request, please contact the City Council's Information Governance Team.
Phone: 0191 211 6500
Did you know?
A lot of our freedom of information requests are for data sets that we already make publicly available. Find out more information here.
Need more information?
If you need advice on making an FOI request please contact the City Council's Information Governance Team. Email: email@example.com Phone: 0191 211 6500