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The most common questions about Freedom of Information.
Who can ask for information?
Anyone, any member of the public, organisations, businesses. You do not have to be a North Norfolk resident to ask us for information.
Do I need to give a reason for asking?
No, you do not have to state the purpose of your request. However, if you do, it may help identify all relevant information and can sometimes speed up the process. The more information you provide about your request the easier it is for us to help you.
How long will it take?
You should receive the information within 20 working days from the date we receive your request.
Will there be a charge?
Maybe. We will make it clear to you if a fee or other charge is applicable. The majority of costs for complying with requests will be met by the Council. The Act allows us to make a charge where your request exceeds the ‘appropriate limit’. The ‘appropriate limit’ for public authorities is set at £450 calculated at £25 per person per hour. If a fee is payable, you have 3 months to make this payment. We will not action your request until the fee is paid and the 20 working days start from the date we receive your payment. Please note that Section 12 of the Act allows us to refuse to answer requests for information if the cost of complying would exceed the ‘appropriate limit’.
Can the Council refuse to give me the information I ask for?
Yes. We can refuse to give you the information if it is ‘exempt’ under the Act. There are two types of exemptions.
- Qualified exemptions are those where information, even though it fall into an exempt category, may still have to be released if it is considered that it is in the public interest.
- Absolute exemptions mean that the Council does not have to consider what is in the public interest and should not release the information.
We can also refuse, if providing you with the information would involve excessive cost or if we simply do not hold it. If we refuse your request, we will explain why.
How do I access personal information?
If you want to request your own personal information, you can do so under the Data Protection Act 1998.You should use the Subject Access Request form. Please complete the form and return it to the Data Protection Officer. You will be asked to provide proof of identity, this can be a copy of your passport, driving licence, birth certificate or some other official document bearing your signature. In some cases we will also require a recent photograph of you for elimination purposes. For further information please contact the Data Protection Officer on 01263 516373.
How do I access environmental information?
If the information you want relates to the environment then you can request that information under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. Some environmental information is available through our Publication Scheme.
What happens if the Council doesn’t understand my request?
If we do not understand your request, we will contact you to clarify what you want.
How many requests can I make?
There is no limit to the number of requests. However, we may refuse requests if we feel that they are repetitive or vexatious.
What is a publication scheme?
Publication Schemes are intended to make a significant amount of information readily available to the public and to encourage a greater culture of openness within government organisations and public bodies generally. Before making a request for information you should first have a look at our Publication Scheme. You do not need to make a FOI request for information listed within the Publication Scheme, as this information is readily available to you by contacting the appropriate Officer/department.
Can I reuse the information?
The Council owns the copyright to all material on this site, unless it is stated otherwise. The conditions on re-using the Council's information can be found on the FOI sub-menu pages.
What format will I get the information in?
Let us know if you require information in another language or require large print, audio or Braille. Some of our information is available only for inspection at our Offices.
If I am not satisfied, can I appeal or make a complaint?
Yes. If you are not satisfied with the way we have handled your request, with the fee we have charged, or with the reasons we have given for refusing to provide information, you have the right to appeal.
You should write to the Freedom of Information Officer or email firstname.lastname@example.org within 2 months. We will acknowledge your complaint/request for internal review within 3 working days. The Council’s FOI Lawyer will then conduct a review. A decision notice will be sent to you within 20 working days. If you are still unhappy with our decision you may then complain to the Information Commissioner.
Tel: 01625 545745