Freedom of Information - Access to Information
Equalities: We are subject to numerous legal duties relating to equalities e.g. race, disability, gender etc. We recognise and welcome those duties, which are embraced in our Equality and Diversity Document Framework.
Under the Freedom of Information Act you can request that we make available to you any information held by the Council, that has not already been published. The legislation does not cover opinions or recollections unless they are already recorded. We are not obliged to create new information in order to respond to requests.
Requests for environmental information are subject to the Environmental Information Regulations.
How to request information:
The Freedom of Information Act gives you the right to ask the Council for all the recorded information it has on any subject, other than environmental information which is dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations.
The Freedom of Information Act does not give you access to your own personal data (information about yourself), such as your tenancy files. You have a right of access to information held about you, under the UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018.
Please refer to our Corporate Privacy Notice for details on how we process your personal information and your rights.
How long do we have to respond to FOI requests:
We normally have 20 working days to respond to a request. If a fees notice is issued, the 20 working day period is suspended until the fees are paid. If your initial request is unclear or ambiguous we will contact you for further information and advise you that the 20 working period has been suspended and will not recommence until we receive a clearer request.
Routine requests for information may be handled informally. These are simple requests which can be answered very quickly.
Refusing a request:
There are some circumstances where we will not be able to provide the information you have requested. This includes:
- if we do not hold the information
- if it has been destroyed due to data retention policies
- if the information requested falls under an exemption of the Freedom of Information Act
- if the cost of providing the information exceeds £450
We won't respond to requests that are deemed to be vexatious, or repeated requests from the same person or group on substantially similar information received within 60 consecutive working days. If a request falls into either of these categories, a written refusal notice will be issued. Qualified exemptions are subject to the public interest test.
We may refuse a request if we estimate that it will cost us more than £450. Where that limit is exceeded you'll be notified in writing and we will give you the option of either refining your request or paying for it. All payments must be received before we process your request. Please refer to our Schedule of charges. Disbursements are the only charges permitted, unless answering the request exceeds £450.00.
Appeals and complaints:
If you are unhappy with the information provided or our refusal to provide information, you will be able to request that we conduct an internal review. Requests for an internal review should be sent to the above address, within two months of receipt of our response.
If you are dissatisfied after that review, you can apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the Information Commissioner cannot make a decision unless the internal review procedure has been exhausted.
Appeals to the Information Commissioner should be addressed to:
The Information Commissioner
You can view more information on the Information Commissioner's website.
As well as responding to requests for information, we are required to publish information proactively. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires us to have a Publication Scheme, approved by the Information Commissioner's Office and to publish information covered by the Scheme.
Our Publication Scheme sets out our commitment to make certain classes of information routinely available, such as policies and procedures, minutes of meetings, annual reports and financial information.
- Freedom of Information Publication Scheme and Information Asset List/Register
- Re-use of Public Sector Information Schedule of Charges
- Expenditure in excess of £500.00
- Data Transparency
- FOI/EIR Compliance Statistics
- Records Management
Datasets which have been requested will be added to the Publication Scheme as they are made available.
Re-use of Information:
To maximise use and re-use of any information made available under our Publication Scheme and Datasets (that have been requested as part of the Publication Scheme), where relevant, we make the information available under our Open Licence for you to reuse for non commercial purposes, research activities, private study, internal circulation within your organisation or for the purposes of news reporting. However, this is subject to the information contained within the documents being used accurately and not in a misleading context. You should also identify Dartford Borough Council as the source of the information. Where possible and relevant, we have made this data available in both a 'human-readable' format (such as PDF) and an open, 'machine-readable' format that is not dependent on any specific software (such as CSV or XML). In the case of map reference points, we have made these available as a visual map and a CSV file.
Intellectual Property Rights (including but not limited to copyright) Notice:
Information that we provide in response to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requests [or other access legislation as appropriate], may be subject to intellectual property rights (including but not limited to copyright) protection. In most cases, the intellectual property rights will be owned by Dartford Borough Council. You may re-use any of the documents supplied as detailed above.
Please note that the Open Licence will NOT APPLY where third parties hold intellectual property rights in the information, as indicated on the information itself. Compliance with intellectual property rights is solely your responsibility and Dartford Borough Council accepts no liability for infringement of any intellectual property rights, including but not limited to copyright.
If you would like to re-use our documents for other purposes eg: publishing them or using them commercially, then you will need to ask for our consent. You will be advised of any charge due under the Charged Licence. Please note that any fees already paid (if any) under the Freedom of Information legislation in respect of the information will be deducted from the charge for its re-use. You can make a formal application for re-use by writing to or emailing:
The Freedom of Information Officer,
Dartford Borough Council
DX: 142726 DARTFORD
Further information on your rights:
For more information on your rights, visit the Information Commissioner's website https://ico.org.uk