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Access to Information Policy

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulation 2004 are adhered to. Both regimes are to be in force on 1st January 2005. The Council further seeks to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998, which provides for the protection of personal information held by the Council, and other access regimes.

INTRODUCTION

This policy supports the legislative framework for responding to requests for information under the statutory access regimes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) and other legislation that provides a right of access (Appendix A).

As a result of the changes from 1 January 2005 there will be a presumption in favour of disclosure to promote a transparent, open and accountable Local Government.  Although the Council have traditionally been open about the way it operates and endeavours to supply information wherever possible there will now be a requirement to ensure that this level of openness is maintained and enhanced.

PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulation 2004 are adhered to.  Both regimes are to be in force on 1st January 2005.  The Council further seeks to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998, which provides for the protection of personal information held by the Council, and other access regimes.

The policy should not be read in isolation and regard should be had to the Lord Chancellors Code of Practice under Section 45 on the practice to be followed in Handling Requests for Information.  The Council further recognises that although it is not legally binding, failure to comply with the code may lead to the failure to comply with the Act.

AIMS

The aims of the policy are to ensure access to information held by the Council in order to promote greater openness, provide increased transparency of decision making and to build public trust and confidence.  These aims will be balanced against the need to ensure the confidentiality of some information relating to such areas as personal privacy, commercial sensitivity and where disclosure would not be in the public interest.

KEY REQUIREMENTS AND COMMITMENT TO ACCESS TO INFORMATION

New Forest District Council is committed to openness about their operations and will favour disclosure of information where possible.  The policy sets out the general principles that will be adopted by the Council in response to requests for information under any statutory access regime.

DATASETS

Dataset information is being made available for re-use under the Open Government Licence.  The following link refers www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/2/

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Updated: 16 Apr 2015
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