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Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 intends to promote a culture of openness and accountability in public authorities, by providing people with rights of access to all types of recorded information held by them. Anyone asking for information has the right.

  • to be told whether the information exists (except for absolute exemptions where we do not have to confirm or deny whether we have the information);
  • to receive the information (unless it is exempt) and, where possible, in the form requested.

Our Access to Information Policy (138kb) sets out how we will comply with the following Acts – Data Protection Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

The Publication Scheme
Under the FOI Act 2000, all local authorities have to produce a Publication Scheme (827kb). This is a directory of information and publications that we already make available, so before you ask for any information, you should check whether it is included in our Publication Scheme. Please also see Transparency page for additional information

How do I request information?
A lot of information, often referred to as 'business as usual' requests is routinely available and all you have to do is contact the relevant section or department for the information you need. If you are not sure whether the information is already available, or who to contact, check the Publication Scheme (827kb).

For information which is not routinely made available, then you will need to put your request in writing. This can be a letter, fax, email or you can complete the Information Request Form. It will help us to identify FOI requests if you state Freedom of Information at the top of your letter, fax or email. You do not have to tell us why you want the information, but it may help us to find exactly what you want if you do. Send your request to the Customer Service and Improvement (Freedom of Information), Bolsover District Council, The Arc, Clowne, Derbyshire S44 4JY. We have to deal with these requests within 20 working days.

Will I be charged for information?
For information included in our Publication Scheme (827kb), you may be charged for the cost of photocopying, printing and posting a copy of the relevant document(s). The Publication Scheme indicates whether such a charge applies. However, many documents can be obtained free of charge from our Contact Centres.

Is there any information that cannot be released?
Yes, if an exemption applies. There are two categories:

  1. Absolute exemptions - These are unquestionable exemptions under which we are not allowed to provide the information and include court records and personal information that would come under the Data Protection Act
  2. Qualified exemptions - This category is subject to a public interest test. This is where we will look at whether the balance of public interest is weighted in favour of giving the information requested. Where this is found to be the case, the information will be given. This category covers areas such as law enforcement and health and safety.

What happens if a request for information is turned down?
We will tell you why we have turned down the request, quoting any relevant exemptions. You then have a right of appeal, initially under our Complaints Procedure. If, after the appeal, the information is still not disclosed, you can ask the Information Commissioner to review the decision. The Information Commissioner's Office is the Government department that oversees and enforces FOI.

Where can I find out more information on FOI?
We have produced a customer's guide to requesting information (253kb) from the Council or you can visit the Government's FOI website for more information.

We continually monitor to see how many FOI requests we have received and how we are performing against our targets in responding to these requests.

BDC Executive Report FOI April 2015 - March 2016 (35kb)

BDC Executive Report FOI October - March 2015 (445kb)

BDC Executive Report FOI April - September 2014 (583kb)

Re-use of Public Sector Information
A European Directive came into force on 1st July 2005 which allows people to apply to re-use public information held by public bodies such as ours. The directive does not provide access to the information itself. Information needs to be sought under information regimes such as Freedom of Information. Re-use means using the information received for a purpose other than the purpose for which the information was originally produced, including commercial purposes. Guidance (44kb) on the re-use of information explains how you can make a request to re-use information and how we deal with requests.

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Freedom of Information contacts

 01246 242383

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