1. The Authority will be as open as possible
The Authority will make information available unless there are legal or public interest reasons for not doing so.
Examples where information would not be made public include:
- Where information requested under the Freedom of Information Act falls within one of the categories of exempt information listed in Appendices 1 and 2 and where relevant, the public interest lies in withholding it
- Where an exception under the Environmental Information Regulations applies
- Where a breach of confidentiality would occur
- Where information contained in reports to Authority committees are deemed confidential or exempt under Section 100 of the Local Government Act 1972
Meetings of the National Park Authority, Audit & Scrutiny and Planning, Access & Rights of Way committees will take place in public. However, there may be occasions when the public will be excluded when exempt information is being discussed. This will be identified on the agenda.
2. Presentation of business
The Authority will present its business in clear language in line with its language scheme. It will aim to produce brief, easy to read documents and will have regard to the needs of differing sectors of the community including people with disabilities.
3. Publication scheme
The Authority maintains a publication scheme, which provides a means by which the public can identify key information produced by the Authority in the course of its business.
The publication scheme can be found on the Authority’s website. The Authority is committed to maximising the use of its website to publish information.
4. Providing a prompt and comprehensive response to a request for information
The Authority will respond promptly and positively to requests for information.
If we withhold information and/or are unable to provide the information in the form preferred and requested by the applicant we will explain why.
The Authority is required to respond to a request for information under the Act or Regulations promptly and in any event, within 20 working days of its receipt. A working day means any day excluding a Saturday, Sunday or any day that is a designated Bank Holiday.
The 20 working day period for response begins:
- The day after a request is received by the Authority, or
- The day the Authority receives further information which it needs to identify and locate the information requested
Therefore, the date of receipt is not the date the request is passed to the Corporate Services Officer to be processed.
However, where a request is sent by email, if an automated ‘out of office’ message provides instructions on where to re-direct a message, the request would not be received by the Authority until it was re-sent to the alternative contact.
Where the Authority is not able to provide the information free of charge and decides to charge a fee, the applicant will be advised that a charge will be made. Confirmation of the payment due will be given before the information is provided and payment will be requested prior to provision of the information.
Requests for information received in Welsh will receive a response in Welsh. Where documents are only available in English they will be provided in that form but under cover of a letter or email in Welsh.
In dealing with a request for information, the Authority is not required to acquire or create information it does not already hold. If we believe that another public authority may hold the information being sought we will consult with them.
The applicant will be advised that the Authority does not hold the information and be given details of how to contact the relevant authority. The option will also be given, with the applicant’s permission, of having the request transferred to the authority holding the information.
Information that is already available as part of an existing charged service will be provided through that service.
The Authority will not normally provide information which is already reasonably accessible to the applicant and in particular, information made available under the publication scheme. However, when publically available information is requested and available in an electronic format, such requests will be considered to avoid the need for a member of the public to visit the office in the interests of sustainability.
The Authority will always be as open and helpful as possible but it will, where appropriate, proceed in accordance with the provisions of the Act as far as vexatious and repeat requests for information are concerned.
Where the Authority refuses to provide information the response will include advice on how to make a complaint.
5. Providing a right of complaint
The Authority will provide a right of complaint where a member of the public is not satisfied with the response received to a request for information or disagrees with a decision to withhold information.
Where the Authority refuses to provide information, the notification of the decision will include details of how to make an initial complaint to the Chief Executive who will initiate an internal review. The contact details of the Information Commissioner’s Office will also be provided.
6. Charging for Information
The Authority aims to make as much information as possible available free of charge. However, where a large amount of photocopying or printing is required a charge will be made.
The standard cost per copy is as follows:
- A4 black & white 20p
- A4 colour 30p
- A3 black & white 50p
- A3 colour £1.00
- A2 £3.50
- A1 £4.00
- A0 £4.50
The Authority will not charge for copies costing less than £2.00 in total. All charges are inclusive of VAT. Please note that if the copies are being posted please add an extra £1.00 to cover the postage.
The Authority reserves the right to charge at a higher rate where any statutory right to do so applies, or when documents are provided in the course of legal transactions.
Certain publications may also have a cover price. Where the information is already available in a priced publication the Authority will provide details of the publication and where to obtain it.
If your request is likely to incur any charge the Authority will advise you of this and allow you to confirm whether you wish to continue with the request before it undertakes any work.
The Authority will not charge for the following:
- Any information provided on the Authority’s website (except where hard copies are required and this requires extensive printing)
- Free leaflets, forms and booklets concerning the services we make available to the public
- Inspection of public registers held at Authority offices during normal working hours. Please note that copies of such information may only be held in one office
7. Protecting privacy
A great deal of the information that the Authority holds is personal and private to individuals. Such information will not be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act or Environmental Information Regulations where this would breach any of the Data Protection principles set out in the Data Protection Act 1998.
Individuals have a separate right to access to personal data about themselves under the Data Protection Act.
Such requests should be made in writing to the Corporate Services Officer, at the contact details provided at the beginning of this Code, or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
8. Ensuring equality of treatment
This Code must be applied consistently to all irrespective of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, language, disability, religion, age, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, parental or marital status.