Freedom of Information Requests

Frequently Asked Questions for this Service

Question: What sort of information is covered by the Freedom of Information Act?

Answer: The Act covers all non-personal recorded information ‘held’ by public authorities. This can include information which is in a published format – such as leaflets or reports; information in standard ‘reporting’ formats - such as minutes of meetings and supporting papers; information included in letters and memoranda; information within contracts and other official documents of a similar type, and information on audio tape and in e-mails.

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Question: Does the FOI Act cover all departments of the council?

Answer: Yes. However, any environmental information that the Council holds such as that related to the state of the elements of the environment, i.e. air, water soil and land, falls under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. This would mostly relate to that information held by Planning, Highways, Environmental Health, etc. These Regulations offer the same access rights as the FOIA, with the same timescales, but the exemptions differ slightly, as does the charging regime.

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Question: Can someone with no internet access request a hard copy of the information?

Answer: Access to the internet is free in public libraries across the authority, so theoretically anyone should be able to access the internet by visiting their library. You are able to request a hard copy of the information, by contacting the relevant department, or the Corporate Information unit, County Hall, High Street, Newport, IW, Tel. 01983 821000 or e-mail information@iow.gov.uk. If there is a charge for the information requested, you will be notified as soon as possible.

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Question: What about questionnaires sent in by companies or students?

Answer: If the information requested on the questionnaire relates to recorded information then they must be treated in the same way as any other request. However, if the questions relate to opinions, then this falls outside of the FOI Act.

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Question: Who can ask for information?

Answer: Anyone can ask for information, including individuals, companies, media and press organisations.

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