Freedom of Information

What is Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives a general right to access all types of recorded information held by public authorities. It lists exemptions and places a number of obligations in public authorities.

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Publication Scheme

Spelthorne Council promotes transparency in the way we make our decisions and provides clear information about our policies and processes through our Publication Scheme. We deal with individual requests promptly and provide advice and help if necessary.

What is a Publication Scheme?

A Publication Scheme is a guide to the classes of information that the Council publishes or intends to publish routinely. The term "published" is broad and is not limited to information published in paper form. As far as the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is concerned, information on the Council's website is as much a part of the Publication Scheme as printed documents.

What are classes of information?

A requirement of the act is to specify "classes" of information that the Council will publish within its Publication Scheme..

There are seven classes of information and these are as follows:

  • who we are and what we do
  • what we spend and how we spend it
  • what our priorities are and how we are doing
  • how we make decisions
  • our policies and procedures
  • lists and registers
  • the services we offer

Examples of the type of information available are given below under the Guide to information.

Spelthorne Council is committed to the following:

  • to publish proactively information (including environmental information) which is held by it and contained within each class
  • to provide a means by which the authority can ensure that the public are aware of the sorts of the information the Council has committed to make readily available, how they can access and whether they will have to pay for it
  • to review and update the information on a regular basis

How will I request information not covered by this scheme?

The Council includes in the Publication Scheme as much information as it can, however if you cannot find what you are looking for you can make a request for the information.

The Act is retrospective and information requests can be made for information created before the act came fully into force in 2005. However, where any of the information comes within an exempt category either under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or other relevant legislation, it will be published with the exempt information deleted.

Will I be charged for the Information?

Material which is published and accessed on the website can be downloaded free of charge, Some information may only be available on paper and some information will only be available for inspection. Charges may be made for information including for example,

  • photocopying
  • printing
  • postage and packaging
  • the cost directly incurred as a result of reviewing information.

All charges will be in accordance with the Council's fees and charges policy.

Who do I contact?

For information concerning the scheme of if you wish to make a request for other information you can contact the Freedom of Information Officer.

Making a complaint, suggestion or compliment

If you have any suggestions or compliments, we need to know so that we can improve our service please visit our Have your say page (under 'Related pages').

Advice and help

If you need help to make a request for information you should contact the Freedom of Information Officer.

Reviewing and maintaining the scheme

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 state that a publication scheme should be reviewed from time to time, The Council is responsible for reviewing and maintaining this guide to information and the data it contains. Material will be updated and outdated information will be removed. This guide and operation of the scheme will be reviewed annually.

Copyright

Reproducing material supplied under this Publication Scheme without the express permission of the Council may be an infringement of copyright. Requests for permission should be addressed to the Freedom of Information Officer.

Method of publication

Information will be provided in the language in which it is held or in such other language that is legally required. Where the Council is legally required to translate the information, it will do so.

Obligations under the disability and discrimination legislation and other legislation to provide information in other forms and formats will be adhered to when providing information in accordance with the scheme.

Data Protection

It is important to note that individuals already have a right of access to information about themselves under the Data Protection Act 1998. The Freedom of Information Act extends the same kind of rights to allow the public access to all types of general information held by a local authority but does not allow people to see or have access to personal information relating to other individuals.