Information Request policy
There are certain circumstances under which the Council is unable to release information. The Council’s policy is to release information unless an exemption must be reasonably applied. The Council will endeavour to apply exemptions 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, the Council will release as much information as it can by “redacting” the information deemed to be exempt. Redaction is the censoring of information so that it can not be read. The Council is not obliged to provide an overview of the information redacted (and why specifically it was redacted) if it would reveal protected information.
There are a range of exemptions provided by the FOIA and EIR that may be reasonably applied by the Council. They can be found here:
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 confidentiality, the commercial sensitive information, 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 General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018 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. The Council will not automatically presume a duty of confidence and may seek the views of third parties with regard to the disclosure of requested information.
- Commercially sensitive information – This exemption applies to information that may damage the Council’s or a third party’s commercial interests, e.g. income revenues. The Council will not automatically assume all information relating to commercial services are commercially sensitive and will redact sections that come under this exemption in order to release other related 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.