Further guidance about FOI requests

How to request information and in what format

  • use clear language, if we are not sure what you want, we will have to ask you for clarification, which may delay our final response.
  • ask for specific information rather than using open-ended questions. ‘What?’ or ‘How much?’ are more likely to get the response you want rather than ‘Why?’
  • say how you would like to receive the information; electronically or as a hard copy. Otherwise, we will respond to you by the same method as your request.

When will I get a reply?

You will receive a full reply within 20 working days unless there are exceptional circumstances where the information requested has been of a complex or voluminous nature. In cases where the response period has had to be extended by a further 20 working days, we will notify you of the delay and provide you with an estimated date of when the requested is expected to be complete.

Will I always get the information I have asked for?

Not always. There may be valid reasons why some kinds of information may be withheld, such as if its release would prejudice national security or damage commercial interests. These are known as exemptions and we will always advise you of any exemptions that have been applied.

Is there a charge for the information?

Where the request will cost us less than £450 to process, the information will be free. There will, however, be a small charge for photocopying, postage etc.

If my request is refused, or I am unhappy with the response, what can I do?

If you are unhappy with how your request has been handled, please contact our Freedom of Information Officer to request an internal review. This will be carried out within 20 working days for a FOI request. Under EIR there is a legal requirement that internal reviews must be carried out as soon as possible and within 40 working days.

Please see our FOI and EIR Complaints procedure for further information. (Please note: This is separate from the standard complaints procedure).