Freedom of information (FOI) requests

What should I do before I make a FOI request?

You can ask for any information you choose, at any time, but you may not always succeed in getting it. Before you make a request, it may help to consider the following questions.

Is the information you want already available, for example, on our website?

We must make certain information routinely available. You can find out what types of information we publish or intend to publish, how it will be published, whether we will charge for the information, or whether we will provide it free of charge by checking our publication scheme or guide to information on our website.

Is the information you want your own personal data?

If your request is for information about yourself, such as your medical records, you should make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act.

Are we likely to have the information?

It may save you time if you check with us whether it is likely that we will have the information you want. For example, you may not be sure whether the information you want is held by us or Staffordshire County Council. Public authorities must give reasonable advice and assistance to anyone asking for information, so you should feel free to ask for help in making your request.

Is the information you want suitable for general publication?

The aim of the Freedom of Information Act is to make information available to the general public. You can only obtain information that would be given to anybody who asked for it, or would be suitable for the general public to see.

Some information, such as records about a dead relative, or documents you need for legal purposes, may not always be available under the Act. However, you may have a right to see the information you want under other legislation. The public authority holding the information you want should advise you.