FOI/Data Protection requests during Covid 19

The Council’s resources are focused on vital services during the pandemic. They are diverted from usual compliance or Information Governance work with priority being given to other areas. However, we remain aware of the statutory deadlines that apply to us.

Currently our compliance with Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004 requests remains exceptionally high, at around 99%. This is one of the best compliance rates in London, and we aim to maintain this.  We continue to try to meet the Subject Access Request deadlines when possible.

However, the reality of the current situation is that this will often not be possible. This is due to the number of requests received and the current workloads in services such as Children’s who are involved in the pandemic response work.  We apologise for the inconvenience caused, and we are working through cases as quickly as possible, bearing in mind their often complex and sensitive nature.

About Freedom of Information requests

You have the right to ask for any information we hold, without stating your reason. This is called a Freedom of Information request.

If you want information about yourself, you need to make a Subject Access Request, instead of a Freedom of Information request.  Please do not use the FOI form to ask for information about yourself, your property or repairs, your parking tickets and so on. Go to this page for those requests.

Find out more about Freedom of Information

Before making a Freedom of Information request, check if the information is already published:

•    Camden publication scheme
•    Open Data Portal 
•    previous Freedom of Information responses

Make a Freedom of Information request

You can make a Freedom of Information Act or an Environmental Information Regulations request on this form:

Make a FOI request

Please don’t use the form for other types of request or query including to ask for information about yourself, your property or repairs, your parking tickets and so on. Go to this page for those requests.

How long does it take?

We will acknowledge your request within 3 working days. We will respond to your request within 20 working days from the day after we receive the request.

However, we may need to ask you for further information to clarify your request.  If we do this then the time limit to respond only starts once we have received clarification from you. If we ask you to clarify your request and you don’t, then after three weeks the request will lapse.  

Occasionally we will need to extend the deadline to reply to you, and we will contact you to let you know this.

Costs

Most requests are free. If postage and photocopying cost over £10, we might charge you as follows:
•    postage costs
•    10p per page (black and white)
•    50p per page (colour)

You will be advised of any charges before a response is sent and you can withdraw your request without paying.

Other ways to make a request

You can make a Freedom of Information Request by email to foi@camden.gov.uk or by post to The Town Hall, Judd Street, London WC1H 9JE.  Postal requests are the slowest and least environmentally friendly way to correspond with us, and we much prefer web form or email.  Our post is scanned in to us so if you do write to us, please provide an email address if you have one so we can email you back.  

Please include the following information:
•    your name
•    your contact address (preferably an email address)
•    a clear description of the information required
•    the format you would like to receive the information in, such as paper, or in a spreadsheet (by default, we will email the information)

Refusing a request

There are a number of reasons we might refuse a request, such as:

  • we do not hold the information
  • it will take 18 working hours or more to provide the information (we'll contact you so you can reduce the request)
  • an exemption or exception applies (see below)

Exemptions and exceptions  

Sometimes we cannot release information to the public because it might significantly disrupt service delivery, breach privacy, cause risks to public safety, or encourage crime. 

If we decide that an exemption or exception applies we will tell you why and, where relevant, explain the public interest reasons for doing so. You can appeal against this decision and details of how to do this will be included in our response.

More on refusing a request

Complaints and appeals

You can ask for an Internal Review if:

  • you feel that your request has not been handled well
  • you do not agree that the information should be exempt
  • you disagree with suggested costs.

Email us at FOIReviews@camden.gov.uk within 2 months of the date of the response.  Internal Reviews are undertaken by the Borough Solicitor.

We aim to respond to all Internal Reviews within 20 working days.  Where a review is complex and concerns environmental information, we may extend the time to 40 working days as permitted by the Environmental Information Regulations.   

If you’re not satisfied with the Internal Review outcome, you can complain to the Information Commissioner.