Gittisham Parish Council Freedom of Information scheme

Approved: 3rd March 2022

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires Councils to supply information following a written request which provides the public with greater transparency in the operation of “Public Authorities”, which includes all Local (Town and Parish) Councils.

Obtaining Information and Information Held

The scheme lists who you need to contact to ask for information and gives their address and phone number, and where available, their email address. 

There are three ways to obtain the information:

Parish Council web site

The web site holds the type of information which the Council routinely publishes e.g. minutes and agendas. The information you want may already be included in the publication scheme – so please check the documents on the web site first.

Inspect Documents held by the Clerk

If you wish to view certain documents, you should contact the Clerk, either by email to gittishamparishcouncil@gmail.com or by telephone (01404 851442), or in writing. Some documents require some time to locate, so it may be necessary to make an appointment. Please note hours of work vary and the clerk works for the parish council part-time.

Individual Written Request

If the information is not included in the publication scheme or on the web site, you may send a written request to 

The Parish Clerk, Garlands, Gittisham, Honiton, Devon EX14 3AJ

Your request must include your name, address for correspondence, and a description of the information you require.  

Council’s Response to a Written Request

We will endeavour to answer your request in 20 days. We will keep you informed if this timescale cannot be met.

The FOIS created a general right of access to information. It also set out information that the Council does not have to make available for specific reasons, called exemptions. This is information that, if published, might prejudice the health, safety or security of the Council, its staff, systems, services or property or breached an individual’s Data Protection rights. If the information requested is covered by an exemption the Clerk to the Council will tell the applicant in writing why the Council has refused the request and quote the relevant exemptions. 

If the information requested is not disclosed, the applicant can ask the Information Commissioner to review the Council’s decision. The Information Commissioner’s Office is the Government department that overseas and enforces FOI. They can be contacted by the following link 

www.ico.gov.uk

Charges

We plan to make as much information available as possible without charging for it.

Free of charge on the website. For those without Internet access, a print out would be available from the Clerk who is responsible for the day to day operations. However multiple print outs or complete documents may attract a charge for cost of retrieval, photocopying and postage. 

We would let you know if a charge was involved at the time you make your request.

The Act only allows the Council to charge for answering Freedom of Information requests in the following circumstances:

Disbursement costs such as printing, photocopying and postage; and when estimated staff costs involved in locating and or compiling the information exceed £450. Under these circumstances, the Council can refuse the request on the grounds of cost, or charge the applicant £20 per hour, plus disbursements for the estimated work.

For the majority of requests, or a series of requests from the same applicant within a 12 month period, it is expected that the charge for locating and compiling information will be less than £450 and therefore, except for disbursement costs, no reimbursement can be sought. However, where costs are estimated to exceed £450 (based on an hourly charge-out rate of £20), the Council can decide to:

refuse the request; or

comply with the request and charge for allowable costs as prescribed in the regulations; or

comply with the request free of charge.

If the estimated cost of a request is more than £450, and it is decided to release the information and make a charge for the information then:

A fee notice will be sent to the applicant requesting the appropriate fee.

The request will not be answered until the fee has been received.

If the actual cost of completing the request is more than the estimate then the Council will incur the additional cost.

Where the cost is less than the estimated cost then the difference will be refunded to the applicant.

For disbursements costs, it is proposed that the Council will charge 10p per sheet for photocopying and printing documents, and recover the actual cost of postage or any other transmission costs from the applicant.

Complaints 

We would normally expect the Clerk to understand what information you have asked for and to tell you where you can find it. If the information you receive is not what you need, you should first contact the Clerk.

If the information you asked for is not available, the named officer will tell you why.

If you believe that we have dealt with your request fairly and cannot deal with it satisfactorily on an informal basis, you should follow our complaints procedure (copy available from the website)

If you have followed our complaint procedure and are still not happy with how we have dealt with your request, you may also contact the Information Commissioner to ask them to investigate the matter You can contact the Information Commissioners at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF – phone 01625 545700 email: data@dataprotection.gov.uk