Freedom of Information and the Coronavirus Covid-19

During the pandemic we know that we won’t be able to respond to requests in the normal way and will need to prioritise other services and adapt our usual approach during this extraordinary period. Whilst Monmouthshire will try to get a response out, you will understand that existing or future requests may be much slower than usual or not at all.

We have contacted the ICO who have stated that they understand that resources, whether they are financial or people, might be diverted away from usual compliance or information governance work. They won’t penalise organisations that they know need to re-organise workloads.

Please note that as our staff are working from home at this time we will not have access to requests submitted by post. The mail is checked periodically by colleagues but it could be some time before we are in receipt of your request. The best way to submit a request is to either email us at foi@monmouthshire.gov.uk or by using the form below.

 

What is it?

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 allows anyone to ask us to release information we hold on any particular subject.

We are obliged to provide the information unless there are good reasons not to. There are over twenty reasons recognised by the act, including:

  • The information will cost too much to collect
  • It is available elsewhere
  • We intend to publish it in the future
  • It is about a living person
  • The information was collected for the purpose of investigations or proceedings which we are entitled to conduct, such as enforcement

In many cases, we will have to decide whether the public interest in not releasing the information is stronger than the public interest in releasing it.

Help yourself…

To some of the more common freedom of information requests we receive we publish the information on the website.

  • Business property rates – on the open data page you will see a link to the ‘Business property data set’
  • Public Health Burials – we publish this information on the cemeteries and burials page.
  • Planning Pre-applications – If the Local Planning Authority receives a request, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) or Environmental Information Regulations (EIR), to disclose information relating to this pre-application enquiry they are obliged to do so unless the information is deemed exempt under the Act.  Note: We can only withhold information under FOI or EIR if the information falls under one of the exemptions (FOI) or exceptions (EIR) set out in legislation. For certain pre-application issues the applicant would be advised to complete the commercially sensitive checklist that should set out the reasons why, and for how long, they feel any information relating to the case needs to remain confidential. However, whilst we will take account of these views, the final decision on whether the information should be withheld rests with the Council. The Council maintains compliance to the Data Protection Act and we will not release any personal information to third parties.  

Alternatively, it may be worth checking previous Freedom of Information requests submitted via What Do They Know

Making a request

The best way to make a Freedom of Information (FoI) request is via our online form below. If you do not want to register on My Monmouthshire you can submit a request without completing the registration process, however we will use My Monmouthshire to progress and action your request.

For information on how we handle and process your personal data please go to the Privacy section of our website (here and here, view contact centre policy).

 

Alternatively
  • By email to: foi@monmouthshire.gov.uk
  • By letter to: The Data Protection and FoI Officer, Monmouthshire County Council, PO Box 106, Caldicot, NP26 9AN
  • On Twitter (@MonmouthshireCC)

You can read a useful guide to requesting information on the Information Commissioner’s Office website.