Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Requests
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 [external link] (the Act) allows you to request official information from public authorities (public authorities are organisations such as local councils, the police and the NHS). These requests are known as FOI requests.
The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 [external link] (the Regulations) allow you to request environmental information from public authorities and certain other organisations. These requests are known as EIR requests.
The Council holds a wide range of environmental information relating to historical land use, borehole logs, permits & licenses, pollution incidents, landfills sites, and previous investigation reports and remedial works. This information can be obtained for specific-sites by a request for an Environmental Searches
What information is covered by the Act and the Regulations?
You can ask for any information that you think we might have as long as it is recorded, for example, documents, emails, video or voice recordings. The Act and the Regulations do not provide access to unrecorded information, such as officers' opinions.
If you want access to your personal data, we will not deal with your request under the Act or the Regulations. We will deal with it under the subject access provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.
Publication Scheme and information on our website
We publish a lot of information on our website, for example, statistics about staffing and salaries, details of contracts and financial information. This is part of our publication scheme. If you would like information from us, we suggest that you look on our webpages first as it will save you from having to submit a FOI or EIR request and then having to wait up to 20 working days to get a response.
How do I make a request?
FOI requests must be made in writing. In addition, we need the following from you:
- your name and address for correspondence
- the information you would like access to – it would assist us in getting the information to you quickly if you could be as specific as possible
- the format you would prefer (for example: paper, email)
You can send your request to us:
- using the online form [online form, opens in new window]
- by post - Complaints and Information Governance Team, Darlington Borough Council, Town Hall, Darlington, DL1 5QT
- by email - firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also contact us for assistance by telephone (01325 406777) or by visiting us at the Town Hall (although we ask that you make an appointment first so that we can make sure someone is available to see you).
EIR requests can be made in much the same way as FOI requests, although they do not have to be made in writing.
Will I have to pay for the information?
We do not currently charge for requests for information.
Will I always get what I ask for?
There may be reasons why we cannot provide you with the information you ask for. If we tell you that we cannot provide the information you want, we will explain why. If you do not agree with our decision, you can ask us to reconsider our response. Further details are provided in our Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Request procedure [pdf document] (the procedure).
In addition to our procedure, our Freedom of Information and Environmental Information policy [pdf document] sets out our commitments in relation to requests for information.
How long will it take to get a response?
We have to provide you with a response promptly and, in any case, within 20 working days. There may be some circumstances in which we have to extend the timescales; these are detailed in the procedure.
We are committed to making sure that everyone has equal access to our services. To help you make a request we:
- use plain language
- provide support to put a request in writing
- provide information in alternative formats where needed, for example, Braille, large print audio, easy read formats and other languages
- provide translators where needed, including sign language translators
If you have any special requirements, please let us know.