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Freedom of Information

Everyone has a right to know what Great Aycliffe Town Council is doing, how we are doing it and how to take part.

This includes the right to attend most meetings, with access to most of the agendas, reports, minutes and background papers of these meetings and our Parish Performance Plan.  You also have rights under the Data Protection Act to access personal data about yourself, which is being held by the Council.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 extends people’s rights and requires the Council to produce a Publication Scheme detailing the information that we publish regularly.

To view the Publication Scheme or the Council’s Freedom of Information Policy please visit our policies page.

From 1st January 2005, anyone has a general right of access to different types of information held by the Council.  This right covers information recorded in any form and obtained from any source and is not restricted to documents produced by the Council.  All access requests must be made in writing and the written request must contain the name and address of the person making the request and sufficient information to enable Council officers to locate the information requested.

People making a request may have to pay a fee for the information but will not be charged for the vast majority of requests, with only those that are very time consuming attracting a charge. You will be advised if there is a charge before any work is carried out and you will be offered guidance and advice on how to frame your request more specifically so that it does not attract a fee.

Making a Request

If you want to make a request for some information under the Freedom of Information Act, then your request:

  • Should be in writing
  • Should contain your name and address
  • Should contain sufficient information to allow us to locate the information that you want
  • Should be legible.

Once we have received a request, the Council has 20 working days to:

  • Confirm whether we hold the information requested
  • Advise whether you need to pay a fee for the information
  • Advise who holds the information if we do not have it (If the information that you request is held by another public authority, then your request may be transferred to the correct body with your agreement).

There are a number of exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act in law.   Sometimes, the Council may need to consider whether the information requested should be released or whether it is exempt.  If the information requested is exempt then the Council has the right to refuse the request.

To make a request either send a letter to the Council or email to Great Aycliffe Town Council and please be as specific as possible when telling us what information you require. This will help us to find it. If it is not clear what information you are seeking, we may need to get in touch with you.