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Freedom of Information (FOI)

This page provides information regarding Wrexham County Borough Council's work in relation to the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

About the Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 ("the Act") was passed on 30 November 2000. It gives a general right of access to all types of "recorded" information held by public authorities (ie government and other public sector organisations), sets out exemptions from that right and places a number of obligations on public authorities.

Individuals already have the right to access information about themselves under the Data Protection Act 1998 (external link).

The Freedom of Information Act will extend these rights to allow access to all types of information public authorities hold, whether personal or non-personal. The Act will be enforced by the Information Commissioner (external link), a new post which combines Freedom of Information and Data Protection.

What does the Act do?

The Act will be brought into force in 2 parts.

Wrexham County Borough Council has produced a "directory of published information". This is a guide to the information routinely published by the Council. It does not list actual publications as these will change over time instead it describes the classes or types of information we make available. The Scheme explains how we intend to publish the different classes of information and whether or not a charge applies.

The general right of access will come into force in January 2005. Subject to the exemptions, anyone who makes a written request, including by email, must be informed whether the public authority holds that information and if so, that information must be supplied. As the Act is fully retrospective, public authorities will be obliged to provide information recorded before and after the Act was passed.

The Act sets out 23 exemptions, 8 of which are "absolute" exemptions. The remaining exemptions are subject to a public interest test, that is, the authority has a duty to consider whether disclosure is required in the public interest. Most of the exemptions will have to be considered in 2 stages. Firstly, the public authority will have to decide whether the exemption applies to all or part of the information requested, and secondly, if it does apply, the authority will then have to decide whether it must disclose in the public interest, irrespective of the exemptions.

Who enforces the Freedom of Information Act?

The Information Commissioner (external link) will enforce this Act as well as the Data Protection Act (external link).