Freedom of information policy
There are certain circumstances under which WHBC is not obliged to release information. The Council’s policy is to release information unless an exemption can be reasonably applied. The Council will endeavour to apply exemptions for request for information fairly, objectively and consistently and will not use exemptions as a means of obstructing access to information.
Exemptions may apply to only some of the information requested by an applicant. In such cases, WHBC will release as much information as it can by “redacting” the information deemed to be exempt. Redaction is the blacking out of information so that it is can not be read. The Council is not obliged to confirm or deny the existence of information or to advise in respect of exemptions, where to do so would in itself disclose exempt information.
A list of the 23 exemptions to the FOIA can be found on the Information Commissioner’s website at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk
There will be occasions where the Council will need to balance the rights of applicants to information against a person’s (or persons’) right to privacy, third parties rights to confidentially and what information may or may not be in the public interest.
- Personal Information – Where information requested under the FOIA contains personal details about anyone other than the applicant, the principles of the GDPR and DPA must be applied.
- Information provided in confidence – This exemption applies to information provided in confidence to the Council by external persons or organisations including other public authorities. WHBC will not automatically presume a duty of confidence and may seek the views of third parties with regard to the disclosure of requested information.
- Public Interest Test – Information will only be withheld if the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.