The Freedom of Information Act came into force at the beginning of 2005 to encourage greater openness and transparency across the whole public sector.
The Act provides individuals or organisations with the right to request information held by a public authority.
The Information Commissioner’s Office produced a new model publication scheme in 2008 that all public sector organisations had to adopt by 31st December 2008.
All local authorities are required to have a publication scheme and detail the information it produces (Classes of Information).
The publication scheme commits a parish council:
- To proactively publish or otherwise make available as a matter of routine information which is held by the parish council and falls within the classes set out below.
- To specify the information which is held by the parish council and falls within the classes below.
- To proactively publish or otherwise make available as a matter or routine information in line with the statements contained within the scheme.
- To produce and publish the methods by which the specific information is made routinely available, so that it can be easily identified and accessed by members of the public.
- To review and update on a regular basis the information the council makes available under the scheme.
- To produce a schedule of any fees charged for access to information which is made proactively available.
- To make the publication scheme available to the public.
Classes of Information
- 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.
The information will not generally include:
- Information the disclosure of which is prevented by law, or exempt under the Freedom of Information Act.
Beckermet with Thornhill Parish Council endeavours to be open and accountable and is happy to make the documents detailed on the schedule available.
Requests for information should be made through the Clerk of the Council who will be responsible for operating the scheme on a day to day basis. The Deputy Clerk will be responsible in the absence of the Clerk.
Follow this link for details how to make, who to contact and cost details for information requests.
Wherever possible, Beckermet with Thornhill Parish Council will provide information through its website.
Where information is only available in a non electronic form, or when an individual does not wish to access electronically,
they can contact the Parish Council and ask for the information to be provided to them in an alternative, available format.
Some information may only be available to view in person at the Council’s premises.
In these circumstances an appointment to view the information will be arranged within a reasonable timescale.
Where it is not reasonably possible for an individual to view information in person, every effort will be made to find an alternative means of communicating the information.
In order to ensure maximum release some information may be omitted.
This will happen when a prohibition on release exists for material contained in the original information,
examples of which are personal data or commercially sensitive information (The omitted information may still be requested under the right of access).
Information will generally be provided in English only. Where Beckermet with Thornhill Parish Council is required under other statue to provide certain information in other languages, this information will be translated.
Beckermet with Thornhill Parish Council also has obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act to provide information in other formats. These guidelines will be adhered to when proactively providing information.
If a request for information is refused a reason/explanation must be given.
Appeals against refusal can be made using the parish council’s complaint procedure, details of which are available on the website or from the parish office.
If the applicant is not satisfied with the reason/explanation they can appeal to the Information Commissioner.
Details of the appeal procedures can be found at www.ico.org.uk.