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The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoI) gives anyone the right to ask for any information held by a public authority, which includes Portsmouth City Council. The information must be in a recorded form, so can include:
Portsmouth City Council has always been committed to openness – it increases public confidence in our ability to serve the community and lead the city. We want to show that we are an open organisation committed to delivering the best possible public services. You can get information by:
Portsmouth City Council’s Freedom of Information policy ensures that the Council will:
If you need environmental information (such as data about the air, atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscapes, natural sites, wetlands and coastal marine areas), please see Environmental Information Regulations section below.
Only one absolute exemption need apply for the information to be withheld – absolute exemptions include sections 21, 23, 32, 34, 36, 40, 41 and 44 of the exempt information included in the FoI act. Where information is covered by an absolute exemption, we may refuse to release the information and, in some circumstances, can refuse to confirm or deny whether we hold the information.
If a qualified exemption applies, the information must be disclosed unless the public interest in withholding it is greater than the public interest in releasing it – qualified exemptions include sections 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 33, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 42 and 43 of the exempt information included in the FoI act.
Freedom of Information (FoI) applies to all information held by public bodies. It also applies to specifically-designated private companies that perform public functions but not to other private companies.
However, all of the information that we hold about your company is covered by FoI, as is any information that you hold on our behalf.
Data protection act and personal information
If you are looking for personal information about yourself or about another person on their behalf, please see the ICO page about Data Protection.
If you want to know what personal information the Council has of yours, please view requesting information for further details.
Freedom of Information (FoI) requests can be made by writing to the council’s Corporate Information Governance Officer at the address below.
Please check our Publication Scheme first as the information you require may already be available. If the information is not available, please contact us by email or post with:
To comply with FoI, Portsmouth City Council must respond to requests within 20 working days (subject to exemptions).
Where a fee is required, you will be advised and you must pay before the request is processed. If the fee is not paid within three months, the request will be considered lapsed.
Where requests are repeated or considered an intentional annoyance, the council will be under no obligation to disclose the information requested.
You can find out what personal information of yours the council has, by writing a request to the Data Protection Officer. The data access request form is available to print and complete below.
The following may also be helpful:
If you cannot come to the Civic Offices, or don’t have any form of identification please use the contact details below to discuss it with us.
A request under the Environmental Information Regulations can be written or verbal – more details in separate section below.
We will charge for FoI requests in line with the national FoI fees regulations. If the cost of finding and retrieving the information does not exceed £450 (equivalent to 18 hours work) there will be no charge, other than for disbursements.
If the cost exceeds £450 we will charge for all the hours at a rate of £25 per hour or decline the request – alternatively, we will assist the requester in refining the request to within 18 hours to ensure no charge will be incurred.
Disbursement costs are free up to £5 – above this, we will charge the full amount, including the initial £5. Where a fee is involved, we will issue a fees notice requesting payment – the request will not progress until the fees have been paid. The 20 working-day target for responding to requests will not begin until the fees are paid.
There is usually no charge for requesting to see personal data about yourself under the Data Protection Act 2018, however, where a request is manifestly unfounded or excessive, or if you request a further copy of the information, we may charge a “reasonable fee” for the administrative costs of complying with the request. In these circumstances, the fee to be charged will be communicated in advance of disclosure of the information.
Our charging policy for environmental information is the same as for FoI requests, as above.
Where existing legislation applies to an information access request (such as the Town and Country Planning Act) the legislator’s own charging regulation will apply.
Disbursements are costs associated with the provision of information in an applicants preferred format. Disbursements include postage costs.
Portsmouth City Council may disburse information by printing, photocopying, or copying to a CD-ROM, video or audio tape. If translation of content (requested under the Data Protection Act, Freedom of Information Act or Environmental Information Regulations) into another language is required, please contact the Data Protection Officer by email to DataProtection@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or telephone 023 9268 8482.
You can appeal against an FoI decision made by the Council, or complain about the way we handled an FoI request or other FoI matter by following the procedures listed below, which are in line with the Council’s corporate complaints process.
Whether you are appealing against a decision or making a complaint about our services or staff, we promise to:
Your first step for appealing or complaining is to contact us using the following details.
Please email us at email@example.com or write to us at the following address:
Corporate Information Governance Officer,
Customer, community & democratic service,
Portsmouth City Council,
In the first instance, please contact the Corporate Information Governance Officer (address and email above) who will review the decision. If the original decision is confirmed, the appeal will be moved to step two.
The City Solicitor will review the decision. If the original decision is confirmed and you are still dissatisfied, you should forward your grievances to the Information Commissioner’s Office by phone on 0303 123 1113, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by writing to the following address:
Information Commissioner’s Office,
Contact the Council’s Corporate Information Governance Officer (address and email in the ‘Contact us’ section above) who will seek to resolve the complaint.
If you’re still dissatisfied, contact the Head of Legal, Licensing and Registrars, who is the head of service for FoI, on email at email@example.com, or at the following address:
Head of Legal, Licensing and Registrars,
Portsmouth City Council,
If you’re still dissatisfied, contact the Chief Executive by telephone on 023 9283 4702 or by writing to the following address:
Portsmouth City Council,
If you’re still dissatisfied you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office by phone on 0303 123 1113, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by writing to the following address:
Information Commissioner’s Office,
The Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005 implement an EU directive that encourages the re-use of public information for purposes other than its original purpose. The aim is to stimulate the European information industry and enable companies to use our information for commercial purposes.
The regulations do not oblige public bodies to make their information available for re-use unless there is a statutory obligation to do so. They do oblige public bodies to:
The regulations apply to any recorded information (as defined for FoI), including whole documents or parts of documents.
There are some exemptions to the regulations, including educational or cultural establishments, intellectual property that rests with a third party, and information that is exempt under FoI, Data Protection and other legislation.
Requests should be in writing but, unlike FoI, they must state the reason for the re-use. The Council must respond to requests and complaints within 20 working days, unless the request is very complex or volumes are large.
Complaints procedures must include escalation to the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) and ultimately to the Advisory Panel on Public Sector Information.
The regulations encourage public bodies to make the maximum use of electronic means in implementing them. For more detailed information and guidance visit the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) website.
To apply to re-use information, you should:
Please send the request to the Council’s Corporate Information Governance Officer at the address below.
We will deal with your request as quickly as we can and will provide a full response within 20 working days. If we are unable to respond within 20 working days, we will contact you as soon as possible explaining why.
In some cases we will only permit re-use under a set of conditions know as a licence. Where this is the case, we will inform you of the licence conditions and whether there is a charge for the licence.
If we refuse a request to re-use information, we will write to you and include:
Should you wish to appeal against our decision or make a complaint about the way your request was handled, please write to the Council’s Corporate Information Governance Officer at the address below. If, having heard the outcome of your complaint or appeal, you are still dissatisfied, you can refer your case to the Office of Public Sector Information by email at email@example.com , or by writing to the following address:
Office of Public Sector Information,
Admiralty Arch (North Side),
The council holds the following lists and public registers:
A copy of the gifts and hospitality register is available on request for you to view all gifts and hospitality received or declined by PCC employees. It also shows if gifts have been donated to the Lord Mayor’s Appeal or other charity.