Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Regulations

Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the Act”) gives a general right of access to information held by Public Authorities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

Freedom of Information allows people to see how public bodies work and allows access to information for any person or organisation worldwide with no need for them to state their reason for wanting it.

The Act has two requirements:

  • The requirement for the Authority to develop and maintain a Publication Scheme; and
  • The requirement for the Authority to respond to any request for information within twenty working days in most cases

This encourages greater openness and accountability in public authorities and helps increase levels of public trust.

Environmental Information

The Council will treat any request for environmental information under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 ("EIR"). The EIRs are very similar to the Act in that the Council is obliged to respond to requests for information within twenty working days in most cases, and proactively publish environmental information. Examples of environmental information which the Council might hold would include information about planning, waste management and pollution.

Information about your rights under the Act and EIRs can be found on the website of the Information Commissioners Office.

What information is available?

The Council is required to produce and maintain a Publication Scheme. The purpose of the Publication Scheme is to ensure a significant amount of information is available without the need to make a specific request for it. The Council's objective is to publish basic information routinely and to specifically publish information where there is clearly a public interest. We believe that this will enhance the existing opportunities to gain access to our information.

The Publication Scheme sets out:

  • What information Torfaen County Borough Council publishes or intends to publish as a matter of course
  • How this information will be published
  • What charges, if any, will be made for the information.

A copy of the FOI Publication Scheme is available to download.

If you are unable to access the Publication Scheme electronically, please contact the FOI team who will be able to provide you with the information you need.

Access to information which is not published

If the information you want is not available through the Publication Scheme then information can be requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  Requests for environmental information can be made under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Requests under the Freedom of Information Act must be submitted in writing, but may be hand-written, typed or sent as an email.

Requests under the Environmental Information Regulations can be submitted verbally, although we do encourage written requests under this legislation to ensure that we have as much detail as possible in order to search for and provide the information you have asked for.

Written requests should be sent to:

Email foi@torfaen.gov.uk

Or by post to:

Complaints and Freedom of Information Manager
Torfaen County Borough Council
Civic Centre
Pontypool
Torfaen
NP4 6YB

or you can make a FOI Individual Access Request online.

What to include in your request

When making a request you must provide us with the following information:

  • your name
  • a contact address (this can be an email address)
  • a detailed description of the information you require.  Please be specific and only request the information you need rather than full documents
  • the way in which you would like to receive the information - for example, if you would like it electronically or would prefer to come in and view the material

What happens next?

If you submit a request, under the Act, the Council is legally required to provide the information requested within 20 working days. However, every attempt will be made to provide it as quickly as possible.

Can my request be turned down?

If the information you requested cannot be released due to data protection issues or where the information is sensitive or confidential for example we will clearly set out the reasons for withholding the information to you.   Or if we do not hold the information, we will also inform you of this.

Will I have to pay?

Our aim is to make as much information as possible available to you free of charge. However, where it takes a significant amount of time or material to gather or prepare the information you want, under Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act the authority is not obliged to continue with your request if it is likely to exceed 18 hours.

Appeals and complaints

Our aim is to be as open as possible with the information we provide. However if you feel that this is not the case please let us know by writing to us at the address below stating clearly what the issue is. We will endeavour to resolve any problems, including a review of our original decision. As part of that review, if it is agreed that the information is incomplete, we will correct it.

Complaints and Freedom of Information Manager
Torfaen County Borough Council
Civic Centre
Pontypool
Torfaen
NP4 6YB

Email foi@torfaen.gov.uk

If you are still unhappy with the way your request was handled by the Council, please contact the Office of the Information Commissioner.  The contact details are:

The Information Commissioner’s Office (Wales), 2nd Floor, Churchill House, Churchill Way, Cardiff, CF10 2HH.  Telephone 0330 414 6421 or e-mail wales@ico.org.uk

or visit the Information Commissioners Office website.

Last Modified: 26/06/2019
For more information contact:

Complaints and Freedom of Information Manager

Tel: 01495 742164

Email: foi@torfaen.gov.uk

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