Freedom of Information and the Coronavirus Covid-19
During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown period a number of our staff were redeployed into Covid-19 response teams. This included our Freedom of Information team and those who provide the responses from the service areas. This has resulted in a backlog of requests, however we are now working to recover this backlog and get up to date.
We would like to thank you for your understanding and patience during these difficult times.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Monmouthshire County Council has adopted the Information Commissioner’s model publication scheme. It sets out the kinds of information that the Council intends to make routinely available. The intention is that this information should be easy for the authority and any individual to find and use.
To some of the more common freedom of information requests we receive we publish the information on the website.
- Disclosure Log – we publish the responses to requests we receive frequently on the FOI Disclosure Log page.
- 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
Please note, following a decision of the First Tier Information Rights Tribunal EA/2018/0033 (External link – Opens in a new tab or window), the Authority no longer publishes business rates data on its open data web page. It will no longer disclose information about business rate accounts in response to FOI requests.
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.