West Berkshire Council

Freedom of Information

Advice on the Freedom of Information requests process

Under the Act and the Regulations, anyone may request recorded information held by the council.

You can make a request online or email or write to us.

When you make a request, even by email, please supply your name and an address that we can use for correspondence. You can supply phone numbers or email addresses as well if you want to - it may make it easier for us to reach you if we need to get in touch to clarify your request.

You are entitled to know whether we hold the information, and if we do, to receive a copy of it on request.  However, we can ask for payment in some circumstances (for instance for a publication, or for making photocopies, or where we've had to pay to obtain the information from an archive).  If a publication is available to buy from somewhere else (such as government publications or publications produced by other businesses or organisations), or is publicly available online, we can direct you to the appropriate source to buy or view a copy for yourself.

doc icon Charges and fees for photocopy and postage [25kb] are approved annually. There may be charges for providing other information and/or advice, and more information can be found here:

Other charges may apply for certain types of information, and these are advertised on the relevant sections of the council's website.

How long will you take to respond to a request?

We will respond to your request within twenty working days or advise you of any delay.

Where the information is easy to obtain (published on our website or in a leaflet, or easy to view at one of our offices) we will treat your request as 'business as usual' and supply the information or provide access to it as quickly as possible.

Where the request is more complex, we will keep a record of the request and how it was dealt with for monitoring purposes.  All personal information will be deleted after two years plus the current year, and the personal information you provide will not be used for anything other than dealing with your request.

Refusals and exemptions

Occasionally requests may involve staff in a great deal of work because information is not held in a way which makes it easy to supply an answer to an enquiry. In this case we can refuse it under exemptions in the Act or the Regulations but we will always try to suggest information which we are able to provide which will take less time to prepare, and which we think may answer your request instead.
We may also aggregate several requests on the same subject (from the same requester or where a number of requesters are working together), and if  the administration of the aggregated requests exceeds a reasonable amount of time we may refuse them all.

We are empowered to refuse vexatious and repeated requests or to refuse to provide information because the request is manifestly unreasonable.  It is always the request (not the requester) to which these provisions apply.

We may also refuse to supply information because we consider that it is exempt from disclosure. There are a number of exemptions in the Act which are mirrored by similar exceptions in the Regulations.

Internal review

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request you may ask for an internal review. Our final response will always include information on how to ask for a review.

Publication Scheme

The authority has a pdf icon Freedom of Information Publication Scheme [134kb] as required under S19 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. You can find links to the relevant data on the Publication Scheme webpage.

The role of the Information Commissioner

If you're still not satisfied following an internal review you may apply to an independent regulator, the Information Commissioner. He can consider whether the authority has responded promptly and within the timescales, whether it has carried out its duty to advise and assist and whether it has applied the exemptions appropriately and explained any refusal.
Decisions made by the Information Commissioner are published online on The Information Commissioner - Homepage

The role of the First-Tier Tribunal

If you remain dissatisfied after the Information Commissioner has considered your request for a review and provided a response you may appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal.  The Information Commissioner will supply more information on this process. The Tribunal also publishes its decisions.

Who To Contact

Contact details for making a Freedom of Information (FoI) Request

(01635) 519860