Council Policy on Fees and Charges
Each public authority has produced a publication scheme which sets out what types of information are published, how the information is made available and whether there is a charge.
The information in the scheme is divided into categories with an A to Z listing, to help you find what you are looking for. Most of the information is available on the Council's web pages, but some information is only available in print or to view in person (including some public registers for example Deaths, Births and Marriages).
If the information you require is not available online, you can be supplied with details of whom to contact so you can make arrangements to receive the information another way, for example by post or by coming to look at the information in person.
The Council is committed to ensuring that the information listed in the Publication Scheme is made available when you ask for it. If you experience any difficulties, please contact the Information Compliance Officer by emailing email@example.com
If the information you want is not already published by the Council your request for information will be dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or the access rights available to you under other legislation, such as the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 or the Data Protection Act 1998.
The FOIA does not change the fact that your personal information must be safeguarded.
Personal information held about you by the Council is protected under the Data Protection Act and cannot be released to anyone else unless the law permits this or you have given your consent.
You already have the right to access information the Council holds about you under the Data Protection Act. This right covers personal information held about you on computers and in most paper records.
If you wish to request information about yourself under the Data Protection Act, this is known as a subject access request and the time scales and procedures involved are different to those involving other types of information.
The first step is to check whether the information you want is already available through our Publication Scheme. If you cannot find what you want, you will need to make your Freedom of Information request.
Your request for information under the FOIA must be made in writing so there is a permanent record of it. This could be a letter, email or handwritten note or submitted on the Council's Information Request Form. This form is also available in Council offices and libraries. If you need help in making a request, contact the Information Compliance Officer.
You will need to tell us:
- Your name and address. This is so we can contact you with any queries about your request, and provide the information to you.
- Details of the information you are seeking. You do not need to explain why you want to see the information, but including as many details as possible can help us locate the information quickly
- Information in a particular format. We will try to deliver the information in this way, although it may not be possible in all cases
Requests for some types of information on environmental issues (eg about pollution, waste, air or water quality, planning and redevelopment issues) can be made in many ways, including over the telephone.
However, the best way to make most enquiries is to put your request in writing or by telephone, where you can ask for the Council's Information Request Form to be completed on your behalf.
Please post or email your request to:Information Compliance Officer Democratic Services Chief Executive's Department Manchester City Council Town Hall Manchester M60 2LA E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or hand it in to any of the Council's offices.
If your request for information is clear and the information can be provided then you will receive a response within 20 working days of the request being received.
If the information requested is already published we will tell you where it is and how you can get a copy.
If your request is not clear then we may need to ask you for more information.
Complex requests may take longer than 20 working days to process. If we think this is likely to be the case we will tell you why and let you know how long we think it will take to deal with your request.
We will try to make as much information available as possible. However, we may sometimes have a good reason for withholding information if the law does not permit this or if it is not in the public interest. If we propose to withhold information, we will tell you why and explain your rights of appeal.
Some reasons why information may not be released are:
- If the information is available somewhere else (in another place, or under other legislation)
- If the law says we must not release it
- If we intend to publish the information in the future
- If the information is personal information that would breach the Data Protection Act
- If releasing the information would affect:
- the effective conduct of public affairs
- commercial interests or the economy
- law enforcement and investigations
- health, safety and the environment
- national security and defence
Most requests will be free. However, in some circumstances public authorities are allowed to charge a fee for answering requests for information. This also applies to some of the information available through the Council's Publication Scheme. Where a charge applies this is indicated in the scheme.
If we plan to charge a fee for answering your request, we will tell you what the fee will be before we provide information. We will not provide the information until the fee is paid.
The Council's policy on Fees and Charges is available on request or can be downloaded
- Explain your information rights under the FOIA and other legislation
- Provide you with advice and assistance
- Help you put your request in writing by supplying an Information Request Form, completing it on your behalf if necessary or advising you of other agencies who may be able to help you
- Quickly contact you for further clarification/information if your written request is not clear or if we cannot identify or locate the information you are seeking
- Try to provide the information in the way that best suits you
- Advise you if a fee is payable and if so tell you how much, or help you to modify your request if necessary
- Advise you if some or all of the information you seek is held by another public body and provide you with their contact details
- Explain our reasons if we decide not to meet the terms of your request and the appeal and complaint process available to you
- Tell you whether or not we hold the information unless doing this would in itself release exempt information
If you disagree with our decision, you have the right to appeal using the Council's internal complaints procedure. You will be advised how to do this at the time your request is refused.
If you are still not satisfied with the outcome having gone through the Council's internal complaints procedure then you can appeal to the independent Information Commissioner for a decision.
If you contact the Information Commissioner first it is likely that your complaint will be passed back to the Council to give us the opportunity to respond.
The Information Commissioner may be contacted at:Wycliffe House Water Lane Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF Telephone: 01625 545700