Freedom of information

Barnet Council abides by The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). This provides for a general right of access to all types of "recorded" information held by the council, subject to a number of exemptions that are specified in the Act. Any person has the right to make a request for information under the Act.

Make a freedom of information request

Requests must include:

  • your name
  • an address for communication, whether an email address or postal address
  • a detailed description of the recorded information that you would like.

Wording a freedom of information request

  • when making your request make sure your clearly set out the information you want us to provide.
  • you have a right to request the information, regardless of how it is recorded. You don’t have to specify particular documents
  • be as clear as possible. If we are unsure of what it is you want we will have to ask for further clarification
  • try to pinpoint exactly what you want. In some cases your request may be refused if it is too expensive or time-consuming to deal with
  • if appropriate, specify a time period
  • where possible, ask us for specific information rather than using open-ended questions. ‘What or ‘how much’ will lead to better and clearer responses than ‘why’
  • we can only provide information we hold.  We are not obliged to create new information in order to answer your request
  • avoid basing your request or question on assumptions or opinions, or mixing requests with complaints or comments.

Our obligations under the Freedom of Information Act

We will:

  • acknowledge receipt of your request
  • respond to your request within 20 working days from the date of receipt
  • provide you with advice and assistance in relation to your request
  • keep you informed of the progress of your request
  • tell you if a fee is applicable to your request.

We must supply the information you requested promptly but no later than 20 working days, unless

  • we require further clarification in order to locate the information you have requested
  • we apply an exemption to withhold information
  • a time extension is necessary
  • you have not paid the requested fee.

Environmental Information Regulations

Some requests for information do not fall under FOI but may instead be requests for Environmental information and will be subject to the Environmental Information Regulations.