Freedom of Information policy

Introduction

This document contains the policy of PSAA with respect to freedom of information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoIA) as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.

The general right of access to information under section 1 FoIA applies to “public authorities” which includes companies which are wholly owned by the public sector as defined in Section 3(1)(b) and 6(2)(b). Public authorities are bodies listed in Schedule 1 or designated by an order of the Secretary of State under section 5, or “publicly-owned” companies. A company is wholly owned by the public sector if, and only if, every member of that company is (i) a relevant public authority or a company wholly owned by the wider public sector, or (ii) a person acting on behalf of a relevant public authority or of a company wholly owned by the wider public sector.

PSAA is wholly owned by the Improvement and Development Agency for Local Government (IDeA), which in turn is wholly owned by the Local Government Association (LGA). This in turn means that IDeA and PSAA are both within scope of FoIA because all of their respective members are companies wholly owned by the public sector (i.e. Local Authorities and fire and rescue Authorities). PSAA is therefore a publicly owned company and subject to FoIA.

The FoIA provides public access to information held by public authorities. It does this in two ways:

  • Public authorities are obliged to publish certain information about their activities
  • Members of the public are entitled to request information from public authorities

The FoIA gives two related qualified rights – the right to be told whether the information is held and the right to receive the information, subject to exemptions. The right of access applies regardless of the purpose of the application.

The Act covers any recorded information held by a public authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and by UK-wide public authorities based in Scotland. Recorded information includes printed documents, computer files, letters, emails, photographs, handwritten notes and sound or video recordings.

The Act does not give people access to their own personal data (information about themselves). Individuals wishing to see information about themselves need to make a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act 2018.

This policy will also be applied for requests for information in accordance with the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR2004).

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