Making a Freedom of Information Act request

If we have not already published the information which you require, you can make a Freedom of Information request.

We recommend reading the guidance on making a request, which is available on the Information Commissioner's Office website, before making a request.

Once you have made your request, we must contact you either with the information you require, or with an explanation for any delay, or why we are unable to provide the information.

Publication Scheme (Freedom of Information)

We produce a wide range of information about our services and the work we do.

A lot of this information is available at our libraries and reception points, and we also distribute information about our services to doctors' surgeries, advice centres, community centres and so on.

We operate a Publication Scheme under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI). 

The FOI Act aims to promote openness and accountability amongst public authorities and to facilitate better public understanding of how public authorities carry out their duties, why they make the decisions they do and how they spend public money.

We are fully committed to making as much information as possible available to be open and transparent. We have adopted the definition document for principal local authorities approved by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) which commits us to make information available to the public as part of our normal business activities, such as:

  • who we are and what we do
  • what we spend and how we spend it
  • what our priorities are and how we are doing
  • how we make decisions
  • our policies and procedures
  • lists and registers
  • services we provide
  • election information

We are currently updating our Publication Scheme and this will be published in the near future.

Access to your own personal information (making a Subject Access request)

If you are a member of the public wanting to request a copy of your own personal information (or someone acting on behalf of a member of the public) then you can make a Subject Access request. A Subject Access request needs to be made in writing by filling out and returning one of our forms. There is a £10 fee per application and we require two forms of identification:

  • one with your name and date of birth
  • one with your name and current address (dated within the last 3 months)

If you are the personal representative acting on behalf of someone (ie your child, relative, friend), we will also need some additional identification to prove that you are entitled to act on their behalf. 

Once we have received your request, fee and satisfactory identification, you should expect to receive a response to your request within 40 calendar days.

Organisations requesting personal data (Section 29(3)/35) 

Organisations can request personal information from us under Sections 29(3) and 35 of the Data Protection Act. 

Please note:

If you are a member of the public wanting to request a copy of your own personal information (or someone acting on behalf of a member of the public) then please make a Subject Access request following the guidance above.

Section 29(3) of the Data Protection Act allows us to disclose personal information to a third party, where it would help:

  • the prevention or detection of crime
  • the apprehension/prosecution of offenders
  • the collection of taxes

Requests for information like this generally come from the Police, HM Revenue and Customs, UK Visas and Immigration and other organisations with the power to investigate crime and/or collect tax.

Section 35 of the Data Protection Act allows us to disclose personal information in connection with any legal proceedings.

Requests for information like this generally come from solicitors or insurance companies.

On receipt of a request, we will help organiations, where possible, by disclosing the required information. However, there is no obligation on ourselves to disclose the requested information, and disclosures will only be made when we are satisfied that Section 29(3) or 35 of the Data Protection Act applies.

Making a request

To ensure that we comply with the Legislation, all requests submitted to ourselves must clearly detail:

  • what information is required
  • who the information relates to
  • the reason why it is required (this may include what law has been broken and being investigated and/or what type of tax is being collected/what legal proceedings are taking place)
  • how it would assist the prevention/detection of crime and/or for the collection of tax, or how it would assist any legal proceedings

Any requests which do not provide enough detail to enable us to make an assessment, will not be processed.

Requesting CCTV footage

We hold CCTV (closed-circuit television) footage for a period of 14 days, after which it is overwritten. If you would like to request copies of CCTV footage, please make sure you do so as soon as possible by carefully following the instructions below to prevent any delay with your application.

Applying for footage

Before applying for CCTV footage, please see the website showing our CCTV camera locations to ensure that we have cameras in the area you are interested in.

Once you have established that we have cameras in the area, please provide some additional information in order to help us find the footage:

  • date and time of incident (24 hour clock hh:mm)
  • describe the incident (give as much information as possible about what happened)
  • vehicle details (if applicable)
  • the camera location/s (include the relevant camera number if possible)

Please use the CCTV Subject Access Request Supplementary Form below, and provide the following identification documents.

For footage of a person:

  • one showing name and current address, and
  • photographic ID or name and date of birth ID, together with a recent photograph of yourself

For footage of a vehicle:

  • name and date of birth ID
  • name and current address ID
  • Vehicle Log Book (DVLA V5C form) if you are the vehicle owner, or Vehicle Log Book and written consent from the vehicle owner

There is a £10 fee for this application.

Please send all of the above to

Please note:

There may be legal reasons why we cannot disclose CCTV footage to you, for example where third parties may be identified from the footage.

The £10 fee is non-refundable, even if we do not hold any footage, therefore please ensure that you have checked our CCTV camera locations to ensure there is a camera in the location, and your request is within 14 days.

If you are acting on behalf of the person captured on the footage with a view to obtaining legal advice, or taking legal action (eg solicitor or insurer)

To request footage, please complete the CCTV Supplementary Information form above and send it to with the following:

  • a detailed explanation why the footage is necessary for the purpose of legal proceedings, prospective legal proceedings, or for legal advice
  • written/signed consent from the person contained on the footage
  • copies of identification of the person on the footage (containing their signature where possible)
  • £75 fee

Open Data

We are committed to being open and transparent. As part of this commitment we have developed a strategy on Open Data which aims to publish a number of datasets in a format that can be easily manipulated and used by you, and appropriate software packages.

5 key principles

  1. Accountability (transparency, FOI).
  2. Choice (customers, personalisation agenda, social care for example).
  3. Productivity (effective and efficient use of resource).
  4. Quality and Outcomes (aligned to 8 outcomes).
  5. Social and Economic Growth (business, skills training).

Publishing our data

To support this strategy we have established a working group to identify and publish datasets to the Community.

We are working closely with the Open Data Community in Sheffield, as well as other partners on what we make available to the public.

You can use our dataset site to search for, or browse through datasets.

Data matching to prevent fraud

We are required by law to protect the public funds we administer. We may share information provided to us with other bodies responsible for:

  • auditing
  • administrating public funds
  • where undertaking a public function

We participate in the Cabinet Office’s National Fraud Initiative: a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud.

We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Minister for the Cabinet Office for data matching, which involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body to see how far they match, which is usually personal information.

Computerised data matching allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found, it may indicate that there is an inconsistency which requires further investigation. No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error or other explanation until an investigation is carried out.

Information Management Team

Ask us a question


Subject Access

Freedom of Information