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What's available under the freedom of information act.


topcat4

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 14, 2009
Messages
986
What documents are available under the FOI act??

Specifically I'm looking for housing (files) records, can you for instance, request from a County Council someones (not your own) housing file.

I'm aware that if its your own they will give you everything but what if you asked for somebody elses, what would the council give you?

Do any posters have info on this.

For the record I'm researching how housing is allocated in each County Council area.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
40,632
Bodies Covered by FOI | Freedom of Information

These are the bodies covered by it. You might want to dig around on the site, but I doubt that they will offer anything other than the most obvious documents up front.

It would make little sense to offer documents that could be used against them.

Far better to keep them quiet and wait for a FOI request which can be assessed at that time.

I'd mooch around the FOI site (there are sample requests there) and then approach the body you're seeking disclosure from.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
40,632
What documents are available under the FOI act??

Specifically I'm looking for housing (files) records, can you for instance, request from a County Council someones (not your own) housing file.

I'm aware that if its your own they will give you everything but what if you asked for somebody elses, what would the council give you?

Do any posters have info on this.

For the record I'm researching how housing is allocated in each County Council area.
BTW, I doubt that they'd give you such a file.

What's on it? Rent rates? Income? Personal data on the occupants?
 

topcat4

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Joined
Apr 14, 2009
Messages
986
BTW, I doubt that they'd give you such a file.

What's on it? Rent rates? Income? Personal data on the occupants?
Its really the file from housing, which would include a person's application for social housing, then to track that file as it moves, what way it was handled by housing staff and what Councillors made representations on behalf of the applicant.

I'm not interested in any personal data.
 

Ribeye

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Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Messages
26,306
They won't give ye that,

For the same reason as you can't ask the DoH for you neighbours health records,
 
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Messages
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Its really the file from housing, which would include a person's application for social housing, then to track that file as it moves, what way it was handled by housing staff and what Councillors made representations on behalf of the applicant.

I'm not interested in any personal data.
I'm sure that if you were to get anything it would be very heavily redacted.

You likely wouldn't be left with more than an address.

You can always try, though. The application request and process and the level of fees are all on the site.
 

livingstone

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 3, 2004
Messages
24,330
No, you wouldn't be able to get the information you're looking for.

Section 28 prevents disclosure of personal information. If you're after someone's housing file, then that, by its nature is personal information. The very fact that the Council holds a housing file for them is personal information, and the Council should neither confirm nor deny whether it holds the requested information, as confirming that it holds it, in itself, is a disclosure of personal information.

There's a way around it is the individual whose information it is consents but otherwise you're not getting it (and rightly so).
 

Analyzer

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Joined
Feb 14, 2011
Messages
46,201
The Orwellian sounding Freedom of Information Act facilitates all sorts of dispicable behaviour and ineptitude in the institutional state.

It should be thrown out, as a peice of bertie binge era bullsh!t.
 

topcat4

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Joined
Apr 14, 2009
Messages
986
No, you wouldn't be able to get the information you're looking for.

Section 28 prevents disclosure of personal information. If you're after someone's housing file, then that, by its nature is personal information. The very fact that the Council holds a housing file for them is personal information, and the Council should neither confirm nor deny whether it holds the requested information, as confirming that it holds it, in itself, is a disclosure of personal information.

There's a way around it is the individual whose information it is consents but otherwise you're not getting it (and rightly so).
Yes I take your point, just to clarify I'm not actually looking for anyones particular information.

However I'm now a little confused, what info can you get?
 

livingstone

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Mar 3, 2004
Messages
24,330
Yes I take your point, just to clarify I'm not actually looking for anyones particular information.

However I'm now a little confused, what info can you get?
Information that doesn't carry an exemption in the Act.

It's a pretty wide piece of legislation, notwithstanding the paranoid conspiracy theory of Analyser.

The exemptions, though, are:

19.
Meetings of the Government.

20.
Deliberations of public bodies.

21.
Functions and negotiations of public bodies.

22.
Parliamentary, court and certain other matters.

23.
Law enforcement and public safety.

24.
Security, defence and international relations.

25.
Conclusiveness of certain decisions pursuant to sections 23 and 24.

26.
Information obtained in confidence.

27.
Commercially sensitive information.

28.
Personal information.

29.
Procedure in relation to certain requests under section 7 to which section 26, 27 or 28 applies.

30.
Research and natural resources.

31.
Financial and economic interests of the State and public bodies.

32.
Enactments relating to non-disclosure of records.
 

livingstone

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 3, 2004
Messages
24,330
The Orwellian sounding Freedom of Information Act facilitates all sorts of dispicable behaviour and ineptitude in the institutional state.

It should be thrown out, as a peice of bertie binge era bullsh!t.
Yeah, because that's what the country needs. Less transparency.
 

topcat4

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 14, 2009
Messages
986
Information that doesn't carry an exemption in the Act.

It's a pretty wide piece of legislation, notwithstanding the paranoid conspiracy theory of Analyser.

The exemptions, though, are:

19.
Meetings of the Government.

20.
Deliberations of public bodies.

21.
Functions and negotiations of public bodies.

22.
Parliamentary, court and certain other matters.

23.
Law enforcement and public safety.

24.
Security, defence and international relations.

25.
Conclusiveness of certain decisions pursuant to sections 23 and 24.

26.
Information obtained in confidence.

27.
Commercially sensitive information.

28.
Personal information.

29.
Procedure in relation to certain requests under section 7 to which section 26, 27 or 28 applies.

30.
Research and natural resources.

31.
Financial and economic interests of the State and public bodies.

32.
Enactments relating to non-disclosure of records.
Thanks Livingstone, so if I went to look for the housing file of say Joe Bloggs, what would the council give me? (if anything)
 

livingstone

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 3, 2004
Messages
24,330
Thanks Livingstone, so if I went to look for the housing file of say Joe Bloggs, what would the council give me? (if anything)
I suspect that they would respond by saying that they can neither confirm nor deny that they hold the information, because to do so would prejudice Joe Blogg's personal information. I.e. even if they say 'we hold the information but we won't give it to you', it confirms that Joe Bloggs has a housing file with the Council.

If, however, you request Joe Blogg's Housing File and included confirmation from Joe Bloggs that he was content for it to be released, then they may treat it differently. But Joe Bloggs should think carefully about doing that because disclosure under FOI is considered to be disclosure to the world - i.e. once he gives permission for his file to be released under FOI, it's disclosable and can be used on disclosure logs etc, so he might find that his personal information goes further than he expected.
 

livingstone

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 3, 2004
Messages
24,330
FOI was never really designed to give access to individual case records. For the most part, where it's one's own data, it's governed by the Data Protection Act, and beyond that, citizens aren't considered to have a right to know of every interaction between public bodies and other citizens.

What FOI is useful for is general performance issues. For example, your local council might have internal targets on how quickly it answers the phones - FOI could be used to obtain the targets and performance. Or equally, it might be financial records, expenses etc.

What you generally won't get is the minutiae of meetings where decisions are made, unless they’re pretty old. The reason is that people need to be free to discuss options freely and frankly, which can’t happen if you know the minutes will be made public the next day.
 

Porkypie

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 14, 2012
Messages
4,240
What documents are available under the FOI act??

Specifically I'm looking for housing (files) records, can you for instance, request from a County Council someones (not your own) housing file.

I'm aware that if its your own they will give you everything but what if you asked for somebody elses, what would the council give you?

Do any posters have info on this.

For the record I'm researching how housing is allocated in each County Council area.
Not these ba####ds - Irishman held key role at HSBC - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk
 
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