Freedom of Information Act
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations (EIR's) 2004
What is the Freedom of Information Act (2000)?
The FOIA gives a general right of access to information held by public authorities including central government, local authorities, the NHS, schools and the police. It is intended to promote greater openness and accountability.
General right of access
The public has a statutory general right of access to 'recorded' information held by public authorities in any form. In other words, anyone can ask public authorities for any information they hold, this is subject to a number of exemptions.
The Publication Scheme
From 1st January 2009 the Information Commissioner's Office introduced a new Publication Scheme for all public authorities. The Publication Scheme includes the information that the public are most interested in. The Publication Scheme is available online. Should any information required not be available in the Publication Scheme, a request for that information can be made.
How to make a request for information
Requests for information should be made in writing, which includes emails. Requests must include:
- Name, a return postal address or an email reply address
- A description of the information being requested with enough detail to enable us to identify what is required.
Any Freedom of Information requests should be sent to the following address:Corporate Information Management Team
The Town Hall
Wandsworth High Street
London SW18 2PU
How long does it take?
Requests will be processed promptly, but in any event a response will be made within 20 working days from the day after a request is received.
Is there any situation when information will not be supplied?
There are 23 exemptions within the FOIA and if the information requested falls into one of these exemptions we may refuse to supply the information. For example information that is commercially sensitive or has been provided in confidence. When information is withheld the applicant will be informed and told the reasons why.
If a request will cost us more than £450 (equivalent to 2.5 days work) to fulfil then it can be refused.
How much does it cost?
The majority of requests are free but we may charge the applicant for photocopying costs if a large quantity of information is to be provided in response to the request.
If a fee is applicable we will contact the requester to advise them of the appropriate charges.
Environmental Information Regulations (2004)
The provision of environmental information is regulated by the Environmental Information Reglulations 2004.
The Environmental Information Regulations give the public access rights to environmental information held by a public authority in response to requests. The Regulations came into force on 1 January 2005 and cover any information that is considered to be 'environmental information' within the terms of the Regulations.
The Regulations promote the release of as much environmental information as possible to enable increased public participation in environmental decision making.
Requests can be made using the FOIA request procedure. In addition to this under the terms of the Regulations verbal requests will also be accepted.
Responses will be provided as soon as possible within 20 working days from the day after the request is received.
Freedom of Information requests received by Wandsworth
The Council publishes all Freedom of Information requests it receives each month.
Freedom of Information responses provided by Wandsworth
The Council publishes responses to Freedom of Information requests. Some responses are not routinely published as they contain large file attachments or include a mix of requests and personal information. Copies of any excluded responses can be provided upon request.