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Freedom of Information/EIR

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations gives rights of access to all types of recorded information held by Public Authorities.

If you would like to submit a Freedom of Information/EIR request, please email: foi@torridge.gov.uk

Before you submit a request have a look at our Information & Datasets article (link on the right hand side of this page - under Related Articles) which provides links to a lot of information that we already publish on-line.


The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives rights of access to all types of recorded information held by Public Authorities.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000  (FOI) gives people the right to request information from public authorities. It is intended to promote a culture of openness and accountability amongst public sector bodies, and therefore facilitate better public understanding of how public authorities carry out their duties, why they make the decisions they do, and how they spend public money.

In addition to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI), there are two other access to information regimes which the Information Commissioner has responsibility for:

The Data Protection Act 1998, and

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004

The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) enables individuals access to information of which they are the subject, e.g. someone's own education/medical records, credit reference file etc.  The DPA is not restricted to information held by/on behalf of public authorities or those bodies carrying out a public function nor is its purpose limited to the right of access to information. 

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs) enables people access to environmental information.  They are restricted to information held by/on behalf of public authorities and those bodies carrying out a public function. Further information on EIR can be found by clicking on the link to the right of this page together with the charging regime.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) enables people access to information which is held by/on behalf of public authorities and those bodies carrying out a public function, and, which does not fall under either of the access regimes listed above i.e. personal information or environmental information.

Exemptions:

There are 23 exemptions to the freedom of information regime listed in the Freedom of Information Act that apply to all public bodies, 8 of these are absolute exemptions. Information accessible through the publication scheme is exempt from information requests, as it is already publicly available.

The main categories for exemption are:

National security

Law enforcement

Commercial interest

Personal data

A public interest test must be applied to the remainder of the exemptions - information must be released unless the public interest in not disclosing is greater than the public interest in disclosing. An unhappy applicant may appeal to the information commissioner about an authority's decision on where the public interest lies or if they think information has been wrongly withheld.

For further information on the Freedom of Information Act or to make an information request click on the relevant link on the right of this page.

Applicable Charges:

Where possible simple requests under the Freedom of Information Act will be processed free of charge. However the Act permits a charge to cover photocopying, (currently A4 - 10p per side, larger then A4 price on request, documents produced externally will be charged at cost), and postage at cost. We will advise you of any costs involved during the processing of your request. More complex enquiries may attract an additional charge to cover officers time in obtaining the data requested but will conform to Government/ICO guidelines (currently this will be £25 per hour or part thereof). We will again advise you of any likely charges your request might incur. Standard charges will also be made for Information subject to a charging regime approved by the council or by parliament.  For EIR charges these will be based on the guidance from the ICO which can be found to the right of this page.

Making a Complaint

If you are unhappy that information within this scheme has not been made available, please write to the Freedom of Information Office, Riverbank House, Bideford EX39 2QG or email: foi@torridge.gov.uk

Internal reviews will be conducted by either the Senior Solicitor or Governance Manager.

If you are not satisfied with the response from the internal review you have the right to apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision:FOI/EIR Complaints Resolution, Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF- http://www.ico.org.uk/