Freedom of information requests

Service information

Everyone has the right to know what decisions are taken on their behalf, and how services are run.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 made local authorities responsible for supplying this information.

Anyone can make a request to see information held by public authorities regardless of age, nationality or where they live.

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Public data

Blackburn with Darwen Council publishes routine datasets in response to the government's request that local authorities publish data that will enable residents to better scrutinise and challenge Council Council's decision making processes.

Our datasets are published on our Datashare website.

Alternatively you can request information using the Freedom of Information Act.

How to make a freedom of information request

If you would like to make a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 please check that the information you seek is not already available in our in our Publication Scheme

If the information you want is not available through the Publication scheme please use the online form or submit an FOI request in writing to us by post or email.

  • You may wish to state that your request is being made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
  • Your request must
    • include a contact name;
    • include an address for correspondence;
    • state clearly what information is required.

Please contact us for assistance and advice if you need help to put your request together.

Please note, requests being made under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, may also be made verbally by telephone.

Timescales for information requests

We aim to supply the information you have requested within 20 working days, unless there is an exemption or fee to pay.

Should your request be related to environmental information and be considered complex then there is provision within the legislation to extend this time to 40 working days. If this is the case, you will be informed.

If the information you have asked for is not held by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, we will inform you and where possible give you details of which public authority we believe does hold the information, so that you can submit your request to them.

Types of information you can request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI)

You can request any information we hold in any form or format. This may relate to printed leaflets and other publications that describe the services we offer as well as the background files and records, except for where statutory exemptions apply.

Types of information you can request under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR)

You can make an environmental information request that may include information relating to:

  • The state of air, water, soil and land;
  • Wetlands, coastal and marine areas;
  • Noise, radiation, waste, emissions;
  • Environmental policies, legislation, and plans'
  • Contamination of the food chain, including Food Safety inspections;
  • Cultural sites and built structures;
  • Reports on the implementation of environmental legislation;
  • Planning.
  • Property Searches under EIR. - (Please also see Land Charges Questions and Information Availability and Local Authority Searches under CON29).

We advise that all requests relating to property searches under EIR are issued by email to supportservices@blackburn.gov.uk for processing.

Exemptions

Sometimes we may not be able to give you the information you have requested as it may be exempt. The Freedom of Information Act contains exemptions in order to protect legitimate interests and sensitivities.

  • There are some exemptions where we absolutely cannot disclose the information.
  • There are also “qualified exemptions” where we will carry out a Public interest test (PIT) to decide if the information should be released.

If your request is subject to a PIT, we will make a decision based on the PIT outcome as soon as possible.

We will tell you when we expect to have decided this.

If the information you are asking for involves someone else (such as another organisation) we may have to consult with them. Where releasing the information would affect their legal rights, we may have to ask for their consent.

Costs of requests for information

Most requests are free and we won't charge you for any forms or leaflets relevant to your request. We will only charge you for information where the law sets a charge.

Material which is published and accessed on the website can be downloaded free of charge.

Charges may be made for information subject to a legal charging regime.

Charges under the publication scheme may be made for supporting services such as: -

  • Photocopying;
  • Printing;
  • Postage and packaging;
  • The cost directly incurred as a result of viewing information.

There is an 'appropriate limit' to the costs an authority may incur in locating and retrieving the information required to answer a Freedom of Information request before we pass those costs on to the requester.

The appropriate limit is £450, which roughly equates to 2.5 days' work.

Once a request exceeds the appropriate limit, all costs incurred in locating and retrieving the information can become chargeable to the requester.

This charge is calculated at £25 per person per hour plus reproduction and postage costs

Wherever possible information will be provided electronically to limit any reproduction charges.

There is no charge for viewing files at Council premises

When you are not happy with the results of your request

If you think we have wrongly withheld information or incorrectly handled a request, you can contact us to request an internal review of the response

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner (See link table below to insert complaints link) for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the Council. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire. SK9 5AF.

All complaints made under the Freedom of Information Act should be submitted within six months of the outcome of an internal review being issued.

For your complaint to the Information Commissioner to be eligible for further consideration you will usually need to provide supporting information or evidence.

Contact details

Mail Information Technology Management and Governance, Town Hall, Blackburn. BB1 7DY
Phone Number(s) 01254 585852
Fax Number(s) 01254 585286
E-mail accesstoinformation@blackburn.gov.uk
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