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Make a Freedom of Information request (FOI)

Information about how to request information online

Last updated: 7 February 2022

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) provides a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by the council.

The council strives to maintain a culture of honest, open, decision making.

We recognise the importance of public awareness of decisions we make, and see the Freedom of Information Act as a means of contributing towards this awareness.

How to make an FOI request

You can make an FOI request by:

Things to include in a request

You should give:

  • a contact address (email or postal)
  • a detailed description of the information you want

You can:

  • ask for paper or electronic copies of information
  • ask for other formats such as large print, audio or braille
  • inspect the information in person
  • ask for a summary of the information

We will try to provide the information in the way that you request but if this is not possible, we will tell you, and provide the information another way.

FOI requests for schools

You should contact the school directly. Schools are separate entities for the purposes of FOI requests and so the council does not process them.

Further information can be found on the Information Commissioner’s website.

Costs

We will make as much information available as possible electronically, using the council’s website. Access to the website and the information contained on it is free of charge.

However, we may charge you for:

  • information printed from the council’s website in libraries or in office receptions
  • sending information to you in the post
  • publications that have a cover price, which we are permitted to charge for
  • requests for information not available in the publication scheme

Where there is a specific charge, we will let you know on the publication scheme. If it’s not in the publication scheme it is either free under the FOI Act or if it is environmental information, it can be charged for according to the relevant charging policy.

What we must do

We are required to:

  • provide you with advice and assistance to help you make your request.
  • help you identify the information you want
  • inform you of the progress of your request
  • tell you if we will charge you for the request (you will need to pay this fee before we have to provide the information)
  • tell you if there is a reason why we do not have to release the information

We must supply the information you requested promptly but no later than 20 working days, unless:

  • we need more detail about your request, for example to identify the information properly
  • there is a reason for not releasing the information
  • a time extension is necessary to consider the public interest test

The Information Officer will contact you about your request if this is the case.

If your request is turned down

If your request is refused in whole or in part, we will write and give you an explanation for the refusal.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, you have the right to complain about the council’s response to your request for information.

If you wish to pursue such a complaint, please do so within 28 days of receiving 
your response and ask for a review of the council’s decision.

Write to

The information officer
Complaints Team
Waltham Forest Town Hall
Walthamstow E17 4JF

Email information.officer@walthamforest.gov.uk.

Please mark your request clearly as Request for review.

If after receiving a response to the review, you remain dissatisfied with the council’s response, you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner.​​

The difference between FOI Act and Data Protection Act 1998

Requests made for personal data are dealt with under the Data Protection Act.

The FOI Act gives a statutory right of access to all information held by a local authority (except personal information which would be considered a breach of the Data Protection Principles if it were to be released).

Help with completing online forms

If you don't have a computer, you can use a self-service PC at any library in Waltham Forest to log your request/report.

Staff there can help you to log in and create a MyAccount.