Freedom of Information
In November 2000 the Freedom of Information Act received Royal Assent and became fully operational on 1 January 2005.
The Act applies to some 100,000 public authorities including England’s nine Regional Development Agencies. The Act provides greater access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities and imposes obligations on them to disclose information, subject to a range of exemptions. The Act allows 20 working days to provide a response.
The Act was passed with the aim of fostering a culture of openness, transparency and accountability in Government. Yorkshire Forward is committed to comply with the obligations imposed by the Freedom of Information Act.
Main Features of the Freedom of Information Act
A general right of access to information held by public authorities in the course of carrying out their public functions, subject to certain conditions and exemptions.
In most cases where information is exempt from disclosure there is a duty on public authorities to disclose where, in the view of the public authority, the public interest in disclosure outweighs the public interest in maintaining the exemption in question.
A new office of Information Commissioner and a new Information Tribunal, with wide powers to enforce the rights created.
If the information you require is included in the publication scheme then it is available on the website. Links to different sections of the publication scheme can be found at the bottom of this page, or you can carry out a search. Where the information you require is available by post, a request can be made in writing.
When requesting information, please provide full details of the information you believe that Yorkshire Forward holds which you would like us to make available to you. Please provide as much detail as possible to assist us in identifying the information you require.
Information we require from you is name and address and contact number and email if available. This is information is required for us to respond to your request and will be held in accordance to the data protection act.
Please indicate how you would like to receive the information you have requested. We will try our best to accommodate your preference. If it is not possible we will explain why, and provide you with an alternative option.
If the information that you have provided is insufficient to enable us to determine if we hold the information you have requested or not, we will contact you to request additional information. Once sufficient information is received for us to confirm that we hold the information, we will determine whether or not we can disclose the information to you and whether or not a fee will be payable by you.
If we refuse to provide you with the information you have requested, we will explain the grounds on which we have refused and why those grounds apply.
If we have (i) adequate information to deal with your request; (ii) received any fee (if necessary); and (iii) not refused to disclose the information to you in accordance with all appropriate legislation, we will communicate the information requested by you within 20 working days.
It is Yorkshire Forward’s intention that items will be available free of charge, but in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act we do reserve the right to make charges for the information where appropriate, and when the amount of work and cost incurred warrants it.
Each public authority was required under the FOI Act to produce a publication scheme setting out what information it would publish as a matter of course. Our Publication Scheme contains examples of the types of information that we hold, this may assist you to describe to us the information that you seek.
Any requests for information under the FOI legislation should be forwarded in writing to The Corporate Information Manager, Yorkshire Forward, Victoria Square, 2 Victoria, Leeds, LS11 5AE. Alternatively you can E-mail foi@Yorkshire-Forward.com (this email address may also be used for Environmental Information Regulation requests).
How long will it take to answer my request?
The exact length of time taken to answer your request will vary depending on the nature and complexity of the request. Under both the Freedom of Information Act, we must normally deal with your request within 20 working days from receipt. The 20 day period commences on the first working day after your request is received. Weekends and Bank Holidays do not count as working days. If we need further information or clarification from you, then we stop counting the working days elapsed until we have received that information from you.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, in cases involving the public interest test we may seek an extension to the 20 day limit, and if this is the case, we would write to notify you accordingly.
What information is exempt from disclosure?
There are 22 exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act. Eight are absolute exemptions; the other 16 are known as qualified exemptions, where Yorkshire Forward RDA must decide whether the public interest is better served by the disclosure or the withholding of the information.
For more details about the exemptions, go to www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk. There are similar exemptions from disclosure under the Environmental Information Regulations, which are known as exceptions. For more information about the exceptions, go to www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/opengov/accessinfo.htm
If you are not satisfied with our response, you may ask for your request to be reviewed internally by Yorkshire Forward. A request for a review should be addressed to Director of Finance, click here for more information. A member of senior management will conduct the review and you will be notified of the outcome within 20 working days. If you remain dissatisfied, you may appeal to the Information Commissioner for a decision on the handling of your request. The Information Commissioner is an independent statutory body which oversees the operation of the Freedom of Information Act.
Requests for a review by the Information Commissioner should be made in writing directly to FOI Compliance Team (Complaints), The Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.
Environmental Information Regulations
You can also use the foi@Yorkshire-Forward.com address to ask for information under the Environmental Information regulations. More information on EIR can be gained from the Information Commissioners Office at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.
It should be noted that disclosure of personal information will continue to be governed by the Data Protection Act 1998.
If you want to re-use or reproduce the publications or information provided by Yorkshire Forward from a request under the Freedom of Information Act (for example, commercially or for circulation to third parties) you may need to apply for a copyright licence.