Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act promotes openness in government and came into force on 1 July 2005. It brings a general right of access to all types of information held by public authorities and those providing services to them. It also places a number of obligations on public authorities, including the city council.

The Act provides anyone, individuals or organisations, with the right to request information held by the city council. The request must be made in writing.

The Act places a duty on all public authorities to adopt and maintain a publication scheme, which has been approved by the Information Commissioner. 

We already make a great deal of information available, by publishing it or allowing people to inspect it. Our Publication Scheme provides a guide to the current information we routinely publish, or intend to publish. It aims to help you understand what information is already available, how to find or access it and whether or not a charge applies.

If you can't find a reference to the information you want in our Publication Scheme or by searching our website, you will need to ask us for it. Schools all have separate publication schemes and are not included in the city council scheme. Follow this link to view our publication scheme.

How to make a request

If you wish to submit a Freedom of Information request please click on this link :

What happens next ?

When we receive a Freedom of Information request, we will advise you whether we hold the information and will normally supply it to you within 20 working days in the format that you requested. Information costing up to £450 to locate (approximately 2½ days work) will be provided without charge, although you must pay any copying and postage costs. These are collectively known as disbursements.

We do not have to confirm or deny the existence of the information or provide it if:

  • an exemption applies
  • the request is vexatious
  • the request is similar to a previous request
  • the cost of compliance exceeds an appropriate limit.

We will not refuse to provide information just because it is inconvenient or may prove embarrassing in any way. Nor will we presume that you need information other than what you asked for.

If an exemption applies, but is qualified, this means that we must decide whether the public interest in using the exemption outweighs the public interest in releasing the information.

If you are unhappy with a refusal to disclose information, you can complain to the Information Rights Team and request an Internal Review. If you are not satisfied with the Internal Review you can lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). The ICO will investigate the case and either uphold our use of an exemption or decide that the information must be disclosed.

The Act is fully retrospective and applies to all information, not just information filed since the Act came into force.

Please follow the 'Freedom of Information FAQ' link for answers to some frequently asked questions.

The Information Commissioner has produced some useful leaflets relating to Freedom of Information which you can read from the links at the bottom of this page:

  • FOI Your Guide to Openness

Environmental Information Regulations 2004

The Environmental Information Regulations were created to support and work with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 but in respect of Environmental Information. Defra and the Information Commissioners Office have produced the following guidance leaflets, available using the links from the bottom of this page.

  • Defra Guidance Leaflet
  • FOI & EIR How and When to Complain

Contacting the Information Commissioner

If you contact the Information Commissioner first it is likely that your complaint will be passed back to us to give us the opportunity to respond.

You can contact the Information Commissioner at: Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF, Tel: 01625 545700, Fax: 01625 524510.

To read the files below you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader - download a free copy from

How to contact us;

  • E-mail:
  • In writing; Information Rights Team, Corporate Services, Floor 2, Civic Centre, Glebe Street, Stoke-on- Trent, ST4 1HH
  • Telephone; 01782 232853

Related Files: