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One West – Information Governance – FOIA/EIR/Transparency Agenda

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004 give people the legal basis to request information held by a public authority.

These Acts set out how public authorities should respond to such requests and the exemptions to disclosure that can apply.

Our team aims to ensure transparency and accountability to the public in compliance with the law and also ensures that the Council identifies additional opportunities to proactively publish information.

Our team has complete oversight and management of the response process for over 1,500 FOIA/EIR requests per year on behalf of the Authority liaising directly with the requestors.

To achieve this, we work collaboratively with a network of link officers and Senior Managers across the Council.

We have a partnership approach which aims to:

  • Ensure consistently accurate, timely responses (as far as possible within mandatory timescales) to all statutory requests for information received.

(Typically, these requests are diverse coming from – individuals, companies, pressure groups, MP’s, the media and others)

  • Provide specialist advice and support to link officers and service areas regarding handling FOIA/EIR requests and Transparency obligations.
  • Deliver bespoke training opportunities for different teams/service areas of the Council to improve their knowledge relating to the Transparency Agenda.

Additionally regarding FOI’s and EIR’s:

  • We manage Internal Reviews to resolve and conclude and complaints received in response to FOIA/EIR responses sent.
  • We liaise directly with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to resolve any complaints escalated past the Internal Review stage.

Our performance in dealing with requests (many of which are very complex) is good:

Year        Requests  20 day Compliance (%)

2017           1,397         86%

2018          1,548         86%

2019          1,516         86%

If needed you will find more detailed information on FOI’s and EIR’s here:

Freedom of Information  and  Environmental Information Regulations  

We also have a key role in the Transparency Agenda and how it relates to the Council:

  • Our team provides exemptions for information within reports and/or appendices for Council meetings that should be discussed in ‘exempt session’and omitted from publication on the Council’s website.  This is covered under the Local Government Act 2000 (LGA) Exemptions.

Further details can be found here:  LGA Exemptions

  • We also provide advice re publication of data sets and transparency obligations and are responsible for the FOIA publication scheme which details what the Council must make available.

Further details can be found here:

Freedom of Information and Transparency

  • The Council also has to be clear on its expenditure. As part of this we ensure publication of all Council spend over £500 on a quarterly basis.

Further details can be found here:

Expenditure and Freedom of Information

  • Importantly we also promote and improve information published in accordance with the Council’s Publication Scheme and Transparency Agenda.

This is done by identifying key opportunities to improve efficiency and transparency and through proactively publishing datasets.

If you would like to know more – contact us:

Information Governance Team

Tel: 01225 477961 / 01225 396658