Freedom of Information

How to make a Freedom of Information request to Suffolk County Council

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) gives everyone the right to request written or recorded information held by Suffolk County Council. Personal information held by Suffolk County Council is covered by the Data Protection Act.

The Environmental Information Regulations Act 2004 (EIR) gives everyone access to information held by Suffolk County Council that relates specifically to the environment, including the state of water, air, animals and plant life across the county.

Publication Scheme – what’s already available?

We make a lot of information available through the publication scheme. Before making a freedom of information request, you may like to check if the information you require has already been published.

The Suffolk County Council Publication Scheme (Word, 861Kb)

Making a Request

Requests for information under the FOI or EIR Acts can be made online, via email or in writing.  Here are some tips and advice on how to submit a request which results in you getting the best information.

  • Make sure your request is in writing (e-mail is OK) as this is a requirement of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
  • Ensure you include your name and an address for correspondence (an e-mail address is perfectly acceptable).
  • Try to be as clear and as specific as you can, e.g. if you want information for several years, do you mean calendar years (January to December), financial years (April to March) or school years (September to July)?
  • You are not obliged to say why you want the information…but if you are happy to do so then it could help us to locate what you want.
  • Remember that you are entitled to ask for and be supplied with information but not particular documents. In most cases, the Council is unlikely to have any problems with supplying documents but this may not always be the case.
  • If you can, avoid the use of any jargon in your request. Our staff who receive the requests are very knowledgeable but sometimes need help with abbreviations and acronyms which are familiar to our customers. If you can spell out and explain any terms which might be specific to, e.g. a profession or area of work, then that would be much appreciated.
  • If your request is about a very particular location then please add a few words which explain that, e.g. "I would like details of the speed-calming carried out in Church Road" - please ensure you say in what town or village.

Need Help?

If you have any queries or are unsure about how to word your request then please do not hesitate to contact us before submitting your request. We would be delighted to help.

After you have made your request

Once you have made a request you will receive an acknowledgement and your request should be answered within 20 working days, although in certain circumstances we are allowed to take longer to respond. For more details about what you can expect from us see the Information Commissioner's website.

Some information may be withheld to protect various interests. This is allowed under the terms of the FOI and EIR Acts. If we withhold information for these reasons, we will tell you why.

Charges

While no charges are made for the submission of FOI requests, the council is entitled to apply reasonable costs for disbursements (i.e. photocopying, postage etc) (PDF, 16KB). Where such costs are under £5.00 the council is pleased to make no charge, however, if costs exceed that limit then these additional costs are payable to the council.

Where charges will apply proper notice will be given to you prior to the information being released.

Contact us

Email: information.management@suffolk.gov.uk

Postal address
Information Management Services
Suffolk County Council
Endeavour House
Russell Road
Ipswich, IP1 2BX
Telephone: 01473 264618

Telephone: 01473 265197 or 01473 264620

Information Management Services
Suffolk County Council
Endeavour House
Russell Road
Ipswich, IP1 2BX

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