The Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 came into force on 1st January 2005. These two pieces of legislation are intended to make the operation and decision making of local authorities more transparent, and more accessible to members of the public. They enable members of the public to request information from a local authority and give them a legal right to receive a response.
The Act and the Regulations also make provision for a refusal, which must be referenced to a specific condition in the legislation, and which can be challenged via a review process.
The spreadsheet below is a log of all FOI requests/enquiries received to date (with the exception of basic ones along the lines of meeting dates and similar) to provide parishioners with an idea of the work the clerk, and the committees, carry out.
We have provided information for the past five years, and will update this chart at regular intervals. Where the parish council has received a single question request (ie. ‘please provide a copy of etc.’) this is listed as a single request. Where the request comprises a number of questions these are given as ‘3 requests regarding…’ ‘5 requests regarding…’ etc. Describing the request in this way permits parishioners to understand when the request has generated a longer period of work for the clerk, and has therefore taken longer to answer. Each entry represents a request from a single individual.
The Publication Scheme sets out the information we would expect to publish, and we would always encourage our parishioners to check the website for information before making a request. Where information is available on the website, the only requirement to respond to a request is to direct the enquirer to the published data.
The majority of requests received come from a very small number of parishioners, and it is our view that this reflects well on the information we make publicly available.
We would remind all our parishioners that our clerk, on occasion will be on leave, and this will also sometimes affect the speed with which enquiries can be acknowledged and answered. To give some idea of the time taken in dealing with requests we have included the number of hours/part hours taken.
The FoI and EIR both calculate a cost of £25 per hour for time taken.