Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, from January 2005 any person who makes a request to the Council for information must be told whether the Council holds that information, and, subject to certain exemptions, make that information available. The Act gives a general right of Access to ‘recorded’ information held by public authorities and includes access to information that might not be formal records, or publications of the Council and regardless of when it was created.
The Responsible Officer is the Town Clerk who has responsibility for final decisions with regard to access to information and to make regular reports to the Town Council on the written requests received, action taken and response times.
Malvern Town Council has prepared a Publication Scheme as a guide to the information that is routinely published by the Council.
The Publication Scheme sets out the classes of information that it publishes, how the information is published and any charge that will apply. Applicants will be directed to the scheme where this covers the information required.
The Council will respond to request for a copy of information, the chance to inspect the records, or to be provided with a summary of the information. The detailed regulations outline the charges that can be made where additional work is required and the Council will charge in accordance with the regulations.
The Freedom of Information Act does not cover information about a person, as this is covered by the Data Protection Act.
Environmental Information is covered by the Environmental Information Regulations.
Requests for information must be in writing (this includes emails) and must state the name and address of the person applying for information and the particular information required.
All requests must be recorded and the Council has 20 working days in which to respond. Where the information is likely to be covered by an exemption from the general right of access and require the Council to consider whether it is in the public interest to withhold information then it must give the applicant an estimate of when they will have reached a decision on where the public interest lies.
Where photocopies of documents are required a charge will be made in line with the regulations and those requesting such information must be informed of the charge in writing.
Applicants have the right to complain the Town Council and if the issue is not resolved then they may complain to the Information Commissioner.