Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information Act - your right to know

Every individual and indeed any member of an interest group, pressure group, action group or employee is entitled to make a request for information from a public authority under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This right came into force on 1 January 2005.

The term 'public authority' covers over 100,000 different organisations and locally includes Suffolk Coastal District Council, town and parish councils and Suffolk County Council. At present, it does not include housing associations and housing partnerships.

guide to the Act (new window) can be found on the Information Commissioner's website.

Making a Freedom of Information request

Requests for information must be made in writing (which includes email) and must state your name and address so that we can respond to the request; but the request need not state that it is being made under the Freedom of Information Act.

You can make a Freedom of Information request by emailing or writing to the Parish Clerk.

We must confirm, subject to certain exemptions, that we hold the information. Generally, we must give you the information within 20 working days and give advice and assistance, if deemed necessary, to help you with your request.

We are not allowed to charge a fee for information that costs less than £450 to produce. If there is a fee for costs above that figure then we must tell you in writing. In addition a charge for the cost of any printing or photocopies will be made as this is not affected by the £450 cost ceiling.

However, if we do charge a fee then the 20 days for responding to the initial request is put on hold until the fee is paid. If, after three months, the fee is unpaid it will be assumed that you no longer require the information.

You may ask for a copy of the information sought; the chance to inspect the records; or even to be given a summary of the information. We will try to provide the information in the form requested unless it is unreasonable to do so.

Exempt information

It should be noted that there are 23 exemptions that may apply. The exemptions are in two sections; those that are absolute and those that are weighed and assessed against the 'public interest'. There is no definition of 'public interest', but in nearly every case, it will prove to be in the public interest to release the information, or publish it at a later date.

Where it is not deemed to be in the public interest to release the information we must give you a reason in writing and an opportunity to appeal against the decision.

In all your dealings with us, you must remember that your entitlement is to the information, not to files. However, it may be simpler and more efficient for us to provide you with the relevant file.

Costs

All photocopies or prints of information requested from the Parish Council will be charged at 15p per single A4 sheet (see table below for more detailed information).

If you require substantial amounts of information help by the Parish Council, the production costs involved may exceed the £450 ceiling. Please enquire as to current rates and projected costs for the information you are seeking.

 

Information available from Easton Parish Council under the model publication scheme 

Information to be published

How the information can be obtained

Cost

Class1 - Who we are and what we do


Who’s who on the Council 

Website

Hard Copy

Free

15p sheet

Contact details for Parish Clerk and Council members

Website

Hard Copy

Free

15p sheet

Location of main Council office 

Website

Hard Copy

Free

15p sheet

Staffing structure

Website

Hard Copy

Free

15p sheet

 

 

 

Class 2 – What we spend and how we spend it

(Financial information relating to projected and actual income and expenditure, procurement, contracts and financial audit)

Current and previous financial year as a minimum

 

 

 

Hard Copy

 

 

 

15p sheet

Annual return form and report by auditor

Hard Copy

15p sheet

Finalised budget

Hard Copy

15p sheet

Precept

Hard Copy

15p sheet 

Borrowing Approval letter

Hard Copy

15p sheet 

Financial Standing Orders and Regulations

Hard Copy

15p sheet 

Grants given and received

Hard Copy

15p sheet

List of current contracts awarded and value of contract (unless commercially sensitive)

Hard Copy

15p sheet

Members’ allowances and expenses

Hard Copy

15p sheet 

 

 

 

Class 3 – What our priorities are and how we are doing

(Strategies and plans, performance indicators, audits, inspections and reviews) 

 

 

Parish Plan (current and previous year as a minimum)

Website

Hard Copy

Free

15p sheet

Annual Report to Parish or Community Meeting (current and previous year as a minimum)

Website

Hard Copy

Free

15p sheet

Quality status

N/A

 

Local charters drawn up in accordance with DCLG guidelines

Hard Copy

15p sheet 

 

 

 

Class 4 – How we make decisions

(Decision making processes and records of decisions) 

Current and previous council year as a minimum 

 

 

Timetable of meetings (Council, any committee/sub-committee meetings and parish meetings)

Website

Hard Copy

Free

15p sheet

Agendas of meetings (as above)

Website

Hard Copy

Free

15p sheet

Minutes of meetings (as above) – nb this will exclude information that is properly regarded as private to the meeting.

Website

Hard Copy

Free

15p sheet

Reports presented to council meetings - nb this will exclude information that is properly regarded as private to the meeting.

Hard Copy

15p sheet 

Responses to consultation papers

Hard Copy

15p sheet 

Responses to planning applications

Hard Copy

15p sheet 

Bye-laws

Hard Copy

15p sheet 

 

 

 

Class 5 – Our policies and procedures

(Current written protocols, policies and procedures for delivering our services and responsibilities) 

Current information only 

 

 

Policies and procedures for the conduct of council business: 

Procedural standing orders

Committee and sub-committee terms of reference

Delegated authority in respect of officers

Code of Conduct

Policy statements 

Hard Copy

15p sheet

Policies and procedures for the provision of services and about the employment of staff:

Internal policies relating to the delivery of services

Equality and diversity policy

Health and safety policy

Recruitment policies (including current vacancies)

Policies and procedures for handling requests for information

Complaints procedures (including those covering requests for information and operating the publication scheme)

Hard Copy

15p sheet 

Information security policy

Hard Copy

15p sheet 

Records management policies (records retention, destruction and archive)

Hard Copy

15p sheet 

Data protection policies

Hard Copy

15p sheet 

Schedule of charges (for the publication of information)

Website

Hard Copy

Free

15p sheet

 

 

 

Class 6 – Lists and Registers

Currently maintained lists and registers only

(some information may only be available by inspection)

 

Any publicly available register or list (if any are held this should be publicised; in most circumstances existing access provisions will suffice)

Hard Copy

15p sheet 

Assets Register

Hard Copy

15p sheet 

Disclosure log (indicating the information that has been provided in response to requests; recommended as good practice, but may not be held by parish councils)

Hard Copy

15p sheet 

Register of members’ interests

Hard Copy

15p sheet 

Register of gifts and hospitality

Hard Copy

15p sheet 

 

 

 

Class 7 – The services we offer

(Information about the services we offer, including leaflets, guidance and newsletters produced for the public and businesses) 

Current information only 

(some information may only be available by inspection)

 

Allotments

 N/A

 

Burial grounds and closed churchyards

Hard Copy

15p sheet

Community centres and village halls

Hard Copy

15p sheet

Parks, playing fields and recreational facilities

Hard Copy

15p sheet

Seating, litter bins, clocks, memorials and lighting

Hard Copy

15p sheet

Bus shelters

N/A

 

Markets

N/A

 

Public conveniences

N/A

 

Agency agreements

Hard Copy

15p sheet

A summary of services for which the council is entitled to recover a fee, together with those fees (e.g. burial fees)

Hard Copy

15p sheet

 

 

 

Additional Information


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SCHEDULE OF CHARGES

This describes how the charges have been arrived at.

TYPE OF CHARGE

DESCRIPTION

BASIS OF CHARGE

Disbursement cost

Photocopying or printing @ 15p per A4 sheet (black & white)

Actual cost (with overheads)

 

Photocopying or printing @ 30p per A4 sheet (colour)

Actual cost (with overheads)

 

 

 

 

Postage

Actual cost of Royal Mail standard 2nd class

 

 

 

Statutory Fee

 

In accordance with the relevant legislation, if applicable.

 

 

 

Other

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* the actual cost incurred by the public authority