How to obtain information from the Council
How does the Publication Scheme help you?
Your rights to request information under the Freedom of Information Act.
How do I request information?
Will there be a charge?
What happens then?
How is the information provided?
Is any information exempt?
What if I'm not satisfied with the response?

Have you made an FOI request to a local government body?

The Constitution Unit, a research body at University College London, is carrying out a study of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and its effect on local government. An important part of the evaluation process is gathering the experiences and opinions of FOI requesters like you. Any information you provide will be handled in accordance with the privacy policy explained in the survey.

If you would like to take part in this study, please view the Links tab.

Contact Ben Worthy at b.worthy@ucl.ac.uk or on 020 7679 4974 to find out more about the study or to speak further about your experiences.

How to obtain information from the Council  

The council already makes a great deal of information available, by putting it on the website, publishing it or allowing people to inspect it. Our Publication Scheme is a guide to information we routinely publish, or intend to publish. It is intended to help people understand what is available to them, and how they can access the information they want.

How does the Publication Scheme help you?

It is a list of the main types of information we publish, organised in broad classes. The introduction gives more detail about how the scheme is organised and your rights under the Freedom of Information Act.

In addition, you can request other information not listed in the Publication Scheme by making a request under the Freedom of Information Act

Your rights to request information under the Freedom of Information Act.

You can request information we hold in any form or format. Anyone can request information, not just Bolton residents. You do not have to give a reason. Requests must be made in writing e.g. letter, fax or email with your contact details. We will respond within 20 working days. We will provide information unless it is covered by an exemption in the act.

How do I request information?

You can ask to see any information we hold by downloading and returning the FOI request form found on the Downloads tab.
 
If you have any difficulty in completing the form, please contact the Corporate Information Manager at the address on the Contacts tab.You do not have to use the form but if you do it will help us to deal with your request.

Will there be a charge?

We only charge for photocopying, printing and postage, and only if these amount to more than £20.00. Most FOI requests do not incur a charge. We do not charge for our time, but if it would take more than 18 hours work we are not obliged to provide the information. In such cases we will contact you and discuss an alternative.

If the information is already publicly available we will inform you of this. In these cases our normal charges may be applicable. Our publication scheme shows the types of information available and whether there is a charge.

What happens then?

We acknowledge your request. We identify what information we hold that answers your question. We respond to your request within 20 working days. If we do not hold the information you want, or if it is already publicly available, we will tell you. Normally, we simply provide the information you have asked for.  If we do not understand your question we will ask for more details. If any charge applies, we will inform you of this; you then have three months in which to pay to receive the information. We will tell you if any of the information is exempt under the Freedom of Information Act. Occasionally it may take longer than 20 working days to assess whether any exemptions apply; if so we will inform you of this within 20 working days.

How is the information provided?

As far as reasonably practicable we will endeavour to provide the information in the form you request e.g. paper or electronic copy, digest or summary, opportunity to inspect.

Is any information exempt?

The Act contains a number of exemptions. Some of these are 'absolute'. If the information falls into one of these categories we are not obliged to release it under the Freedom of Information Act. Others are 'qualified'. If the information falls into one of these categories we have to decide whether the public interest lies in releasing or withholding the information. In these cases we only apply the exemption if there is a genuine risk of harm or prejudice. If we decide that the public interest lies in withholding the information, we will explain to you which exemption applies.

What if I'm not satisfied with the response?

If you want to make a complaint about any exemptions applied to your request for information under FOI, or about how we handled your request, you should first contact:

The Monitoring Officer
Bolton Council
Chief Executive's Department
Town Hall
Bolton
BL1 1RU

The Monitoring Officer will acknowledge your complaint, consider it objectively and then give you her decision. If information has been withheld, the Monitoring Officer will either decide to release it or decide that it should still be withheld, by reference to the Freedom of Information Act.

If you are not satisfied with the response from the Monitoring Officer, you may then contact:

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

Tel: 01625 545700
Fax: 01625 524510

Please note that we reserve the right to publish a copy of the information we give you under FOI on our website or by any other means.

Corporate Information Manager

Third Floor

The Wellsprings

Victoria Square

Bolton

BL1 1US

Telephone 01204 331031
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