Search
Saturday , November , 18 2017

Freedom of Information Act 2000

One of the aims of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is that public authorities should be clear and proactive about the information they make available to the public. The Act is intended to encourage organisations to make more information available to the public and to develop a greater culture of transparency and openness.

Information already requested

Please see downloadable documents below for a list of requests received for each calendar year since the Act came into force. If you would like a copy of a response please email [email protected] giving the reference number.
 You can also have a look at our  Open Data site, where we are putting our most commonly requested datasets.

Requests for information

The Freedom of Information Act came into full force on 1 January 2005 when applicants were able to exercise their full right to request access to any information Carlisle City Council holds. Held means information recorded in any format.

If you require information about yourself held by Carlisle City Council, this is dealt with under the Data Protection Act 1998.

  Freedom of Information- FAQ

Freedom of Information exemptions

The Freedom of Information Act created a general right of access to information held by public bodies from 1 January 2005, but also sets out 23 exemptions where that right will either not be allowed or will be qualified.

The following notes constitute general guidance and should not be taken as legal advice.

Apart from vexatious or repeated requests, to which the Council need not respond, there will be two general categories of exemption:

  1. where, even though an exemption exists, the council will have a duty to consider whether disclosure is required in the public interest
  2. where there will be no duty to consider the public interest.

The public interest test

The 'public interest test' will require the council to determine whether the public interest in withholding the exempt information outweighs the public interest in releasing it, by considering the circumstances of each particular case and the exemption that covers the information. The balance will lie in favour of disclosure, because information may only be withheld if the public interest in withholding it is greater than the public interest in releasing it, for example where disclosure of institutional information would harm a police investigation.

Guidance as to how exemptions might apply in particular circumstances will be developed by the office of the Information Commissioner in time and in the light of case by case experience.

Some detailed guidance is currently available on the the Information Commissioner's website (see external links).

Exemptions where the public interest test applies

Exemptions for which the council will have a duty to consider whether disclosure is required in the public interest are listed below. Where the council considers that the public interest in withholding the information requested outweighs the public interest in releasing it, the council will be obliged to inform the applicant of its reasons, unless providing the reasoning would effectively mean releasing the exempt information.

s22 Information intended for future publication
s24 National security (other than information supplied by or relating to named security organisations, where the duty to consider disclosure in the public interest does not arise)
s26 Defence
s27 International relations
s28 Relations within the United Kingdom
s29 The economy
s30 Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities
s31 Law enforcement
s33 Audit functions
s35 Formulation of government policy, and so on
s36 Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs (except information held by the House of Commons or the House of Lords)
s37 Communications with Her Majesty, etc. and honours
s38 Health and safety
s39 Environmental information
s40 Personal information 1
s42 Legal professional privilege
s43 Commercial interests

Absolute exemptions

Absolute exemptions are the exemptions for which it will not be necessary to go on to consider disclosure in the public interest.
s21 Information accessible to applicant by other means
s23 Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters
s32 Court records, and so on
s34 Parliamentary privilege
s36 Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs 2
s40 Personal information 3
s41 Information provided in confidence
s44 Prohibitions on disclosure where a disclosure is prohibited by an enactment or would constitute contempt of court

Whole category exemptions

These are exemptions where the council will be obliged to consider whether particular information falls within a particular category (or class) of information, such as:
s30 Information relating to investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities
s32 Court records
s35 Formulation of government policy
If information falls into the category described in one of these exemptions, the council will not be required to release it. There is no requirement to consider whether releasing the particular information requested would prejudice a particular activity or interest.

Prejudice test exemptions

These are exemptions where the institution concerned must consider whether disclosure of particular information would, or would be likely to, prejudice:
s27 The interests of the United Kingdom abroad
s31 Law enforcement
The information therefore will only become exempt if disclosing it would, or would be likely to, prejudice either of these factors.


  1.  If the Council believes that disclosure would not breach any of the data protection principles, but the individual who is the subject of the information has properly served notice under s.10 DPA 1998 that disclosure would cause unwarranted substantial damage or distress, or the individual who is the subject of the information would not have a right to know about it or a right of access to it under the DPA 1998, there will be no absolute exemption, and the institution will be obliged to consider the public interest in deciding whether to release the information
  2. Applies only to information held by House of Commons or House of Lords
  3. There is an absolute exemption from the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act if an applicant making a request for information under the Act is the subject of the information requested and they already have the right of 'subject access' under the DPA 1998. There is also an exemption from the provisions of the Act if the information requested concerns a third party and disclosure by the institution would breach one of the Data Protection Principles

This A to Z of services list provides links to service pages alphabetically