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Access to Information

Last Modified December 10, 2012
 

We try to be as open and transparent as possible and you have a general right of access to all information held by us, and you have a specific right to access any information we hold about you.

How to ask for information

There are several laws which allow you to ask us for information.

Simply contact us giving us a clear description of what information you are looking for, a contact name, and an address for correspondence (which can be an email address). We will have a better chance of finding the information you want if you include as much detail as possible.

Write to our Access to Information Team at our main Civic Office at the address below, or email: foi@hertsmere.gov.uk

The law

What information you are looking for will determine which law we use to process your request.

  • The Freedom of Information Act (2005). This law primarily covers all information which is not personal or environmental in nature. Information refused under the Freedom of Information Act must specify the specific legal reason for withholding the information (for example if it's personal information, or if it's commercially sensitive, or if it's environmental in nature and being dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations).
  • The Data Protection Act (1998). This law covers information about you (otherwise known as personal information). You have a right of access to all information held by us about you (unless one or more specific exceptions applies).
  • The Environmental Information Regulations. This law covers information which is environmental in nature, such as waste services, flora and fauna, and food hygiene.

You also have a number of specific rights regarding the way we process information about you and how we look after it. More details about how we look after your personal information and your rights under the act can be found in our Data Protection Policy.

How long will it take to receive the information I want?

This will depend upon nature of the information you have asked for. If you have requested personal information about yourself then we should respond to your request within 40 calendar days from the point at which your request and identity has been verified.

For other requests you have a right to receive the information, or receive a valid refusal, within 20 working days, unless we need clarification. For some complex environmental requests it may take up to 40 working days.

Will I be charged for the information?

While we can charge for information, we do not usually. The only exception is a £10 fee for processing requests for personal information under the Data Protection Act or if you are requesting information in a specific format. We will tell you in advance if a fee applies.

Our publication scheme

We routinely publish a lot of information, as listed in our publication scheme. This is a list of classes, groups, or types of information, within which information is available. You can view Hertsmere's publication scheme.

How do I complain if I am not happy with your response?

We operate a three-stage complaints procedure. If you follow this procedure and are still not satisfied with your response then you can contact the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

The ICO is the body responsible for enforcing the access to information laws.

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone: 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545745 if you would prefer not to call an '03' number.

Fax: 01625 524510

Further information

For further information please visit the Information Commissioner's Office website.

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