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Little Tew Parish Meeting and the FOIA

The views expressed are those of the Parish Clerk, based on his experience of the workings of the Act

Little Tew Parish Meeting (LTPM) is a parish meeting constituted under section 13 of the Local Government Act 1972. As such it is a public authority bound by the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Subject to certain conditions and exemptions, information held by LTPM must be made available on request to those requesting it. (Section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, accessible on Information so requested is covered by the provisions of the Act even if the requester does not state that the request is made under the provisions of the Act. Persons making requests for information held by LTPM must also comply with section 1 of the Act. The person making the request should do so with clarity and focus, since LTPM may reasonably require further information in order to identify and locate the information requested. Requests should not impose a significant burden on LTPM in terms of expense or distraction. Requests should be narrowed or refocused to avoid this burden. (Please see “The ICO charter for responsible freedom of information requests” : access from “Freedom of Information” -

Section 16 of the Act places a duty on LTPM to provide advice and assistance, so far as it would be reasonable to expect it to do so, to persons who propose to make, or have made, requests for information to it. (Please see Awareness Guidance No 23, While placing a general duty on LTPM to give access to official information the Act also provides an exception to that duty for requests which are vexatious or repetitious. (Please see section 14 of the Act, and Awareness Guidance No 22,

Under section 21 of the Act, LTPM does not need to provide information under section 1 of the Act if that information is reasonably accessible to the applicant by other means. It is important to note that section 21, unlike many of the other exemptions in the Act, is not subject to the public interest test: if, as a matter of fact the information requested is accessible to the applicant by other means, then it is exempt. (Please see section 21 of the Act, and Awareness Guidance No 6,

The Act provides an exemption from the right to know if the information requested by an applicant is intended for future publication. To be covered by the exemption, the information must be held with the intention of publication at the time the request was made. (Please see section 22 of the Act, and Awareness Guidance No 7, Information which is due to be published at a future date should in all cases be released to all members of the LTPM simultaneously, so as not to give any one member an unfair advantage over the other members.

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