Freedom of Information
Information for you about the Act, the Council's
responsibilities and how to obtain access to information using our
online request form.
- What is the Freedom of Information Act?
The Act gives members of the public a general right of access to
all types of recorded information held by public authorities.
The Act sets out certain exemptions from that right and places a
number of obligations on public authorities.
- What is a 'public authority'?
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is a public authority. A
'public authority' is defined in the Act, and includes, but is not
restricted to, central and local government, non-departmental
public bodies, the police, the health service, and schools,
colleges and universities.
- Does the Freedom of Information Act replace the Data
No. Individuals already have the right of access to
information about themselves under the Data Protection Act
1998. As far as public authorities are concerned, the Freedom
of Information Act will extend this right to allow public access to
all types of information held.
- What must the Council do under the FOI
The Council, as a public authority, is required to maintain a
'Publication Scheme' which sets out the information it holds, how
the information is published, and whether a charge will be made for
The aim of the Publications Scheme is to make it easier to find
the information and reduce the need for members of the public to
make individual requests.
If you do make a request for information, however, we must tell
you whether the information is published and - so long as the
information doesn't fall within prescribed exemptions - make it
When responding to requests, there are set
procedures that public authorities need to follow. These
- the time public authorities
are allowed for responding to requests, which is set at 20
- the fees or amount that
public authorities can charge for dealing with requests. Public
authorities are not obliged to deal with requests if the costs of
finding the information exceed a set amount known as the
appropriate limit, which is set at £450. Where the estimated costs
exceed the appropriate limit, the authority is not obliged to
communicate the information to the applicant. In the event that a
public authority decides to proceed with a request which
exceeds the cost limit, where the authority wishes to charge a fee
for providing the information, they should issue a fees notice to
the requester in order to avoid any confusion; and
- public authorities need not
comply with vexatious or repeated requests. The key question is
whether the request (taking into account its context and history)
is likely to cause distress, disruption or irritation without any
proper or justified cause. It is the request itself, not the
identity of the requester or the consequences of disclosure that is
relevant. Where a local authority has previously complied with a
request for information which was made by any person, it is not
obliged to comply with a subsequent identical or substantially
similar request from that person unless a reasonable interval has
elapsed between compliance with the previous request and the making
of the current request.
Freedom of Information Data
Publication Scheme | FOI
Disclosure Log (responses)
Freedom of Information - Complaints
If you are unhappy with the way we have dealt with your request
or disagree with the decision, you can request a review under our
Procedure. We will respond to your complaint within twenty
working days and if you remain dissatisfied at this stage you can
contact the Information Commissioner's Office.
information please use our online freedom
of information request form (this link will launch in a new
window). If you have problems accessing the form please
with your enquiry.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires all public authorities
to adopt and maintain a publication scheme.
of Information Act
Information Commissioner's Office