Freedom of Information (FOI)
The Freedom of Information Act gives rights of access to information held by public authorities such as South Ribble Borough Council.
Anyone can ask for access to information the council holds, but there are rules under the Act that mean confidential or sensitive information may be exempt from being supplied.
If you would like to make a Freedom of Information request, you will need to let us know:
- your name
- your address (or email address)
- what information you are asking us to provide, in as much detail as possible.
Make an FOI request
South Ribble Borough Council operates an open and transparent culture and many of our documents and records are readily available, and are noted on our Publication Scheme on our website.
The details you provide on this form will be disclosed to officers dealing with your request and will be used within South Ribble Borough Council to locate the information requested. If a third party is referenced within the information requested, we may need to obtain their consent prior to disclosure, or remove it from the information supplied.
South Ribble Borough Council will respond to your request as soon as possible or within 20 working days from receipt of this form, subject to the prompt payment of any fees. There may be occasions where we need to obtain further information from yourselves to assist in locating the information, which may delay our response.
Fees and exemptions
The Freedom of Information legislation allows for the Authority to charge for estimated disbursements (e.g. photocopying and postage). However, in keeping with the Authority's culture of openness and the principles of access to information for all, disbursements costs will normally be waived. Where they are considered excessive, we may need to consider the interests of the public purse and we may decide to charge in accordance with legislation. In these instances, we will write to inform you and only process your request upon receipt of payment. Furthermore, where the cost to locate and retrieve the information you require exceeds £450, the Authority has the right to refuse your request.
To protect the interests of the state and third parties, there are exemptions that can be applied. The Authority will always give due regard to the public interest when applying exemptions and will write to you to inform you on any decisions made.
Freedom of Information appeals
If you wish to make an appeal you should write, clearly stating your reasons for dissatisfaction to:
Director of Governance
South Ribble Borough Council
Tel: 01772 625625
We will send you an acknowledgement on receipt of your appeal. Your appeal will then be considered by an internal review, comprising of different officials to the ones who made the original decision about your request.
In most cases you will be told the outcome of your review within 3 weeks of receipt of your appeal. If your appeal is more complex, it may take longer to consider, you will be contacted and told when you should expect to hear the outcome. In any case this should be no longer than 6 weeks.
If your appeal is wholly, or partially, upheld you will be advised about any action that needs to be taken by us. If the decision is to release information previously withheld, we will let you know when you can expect to receive this.
If you are unhappy with how we have handled your request, you can contact the Information Commissioner. You are entitled to approach the Commissioner at any time; however, they will not generally consider a matter until the council's review procedure has been completed.
The Information Commissioner's website also gives more details about Freedom of Information.
The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
Information Commissioner's Office
Business Rates FOIs
We regularly receive Freedom of Information requests regarding Business Rates.