You can access all non-personal information held by us, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our Freedom of Information policy.
Between them these mean that:
- as much information as possible is published so that you can access it easily;
- information is only withheld from you where this is necessary for reasons such as the protection of the economy, law enforcement, health and safety, to ensure the proper conduct of public affairs, the protection of the privacy, or other legitimate interests, of others;
- information is deleted or archived once it is finished with, to ensure efficient use of storage space and other resources;
- our archive of historic records provides you with a resource for study and research.
If you are a contractor, partner or another organisation working with us, we may hold information that you "own". This information could be asked for by another member of the public. If so we will inform you of the request and ask if you object to disclosure.
You may own the copyright or have other legal rights over the information. These will always be respected.
However, even if you do object, we might still disclose it if it is in the public interest to do so. We have a duty to find the balance between individual and collective rights. We welcome open government and expect that organisations performing public functions will share that view, particularly where they are paid from public funds.
People in a public role
If requested information deals with someone’s personal, family or business life, it is protected by the Data Protection policy. But if they have a public role – as a public servant, or fulfilling one of the council's public functions - then we try to balance their privacy and their public role.
This means that if you are asking about a decision that a council officer has made, and you need to know his or her name, we will only withhold it if an exemption applies.
Information that relates to a deceased person is no longer classed as personal data and we will disclose it unless one of the exemptions applies. However, if we know that this will cause distress to a relative we will discuss the matter with the family.