Whitchurch Town Council

Freedom of Information

BACKGROUND

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 every public authority is required to adopt and maintain a Publication Scheme. This scheme provides the Public with a structured listing of information held,with the Authorities undertaking a commitment to make it available to all. The Scheme must set out how the Authorities including Town/Parish Councils intend to charge for providing the information. In this scheme,the term ‘publication’ refers to documents available in various formats.

MODEL SCHEME

Whitchurch Town Council’s Publication Scheme defines information that the Town Council holds,which is accessible to members of the public,and will be available on request from the Town Hall Office. Whitchurch Town Council has adopted the Revised Model Scheme as prescribed by the Information Commissioner,and is valid from 1st January 2009. The Publication Scheme indicates the format of each publication and its length. The Town Council strives to be as open as possible with local government information and the work it does.

CHARGES

Where a member of public is seeking to obtain a copy of information included in this Town Council’s Publication Scheme, the Council may charge reasonable charges to cover staff time ,photocopying, plus postage where applicable.

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE

Whitchurch Town Council wishes to be as open as possible, and is pleased to be able to provide information on its activities. However, it may withhold any information, which, if released, would not be in the public interest and could cause significant harm. Any sensitive and confidential information is exempt from public information. Exclusions, as prescribed by law, are contained in the publication scheme.

REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION

Members of public may request information in writing to the Town Clerk, Town Hall, Newbury Street, WHITCHURCH, Hampshire, RG28 7DW.

The request must include full details of the applicant and the information sought. The applicant has the right to be told whether the Town Council holds the information, and to receive a copy of the information, if it is considered to be in the public interest. The Town Council must respond within 20 working days of the request. That response must be either the provision of the information, or a refusal notice drawn up in accordance with the provisions of the legislation. For environmental information the response period is extended to 40 working days for information that is complex and bulky. For other information, further time is allowed – recommended a maximum of another 20 working days, where an exemption has been applied, that requires further consideration of the public interest test. An initial response is still required within 20 working days.