Freedom of Information (FOI)

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 promotes openness and accountability in public sector organisations such as Medway Council.

It gives everyone the right to see information held by us, so that there is a better understanding of:

  • how we carry out our duties
  • why decisions are made
  • how public money is spent.

Information we regularly publish

We make a lot of information readily available online in our publication scheme.

If you cannot find the information you are looking for, you can ask for it through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

Make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request

You can make a request by emailing freedom@medway.gov.uk or by writing to: Information Governance Team, Legal Services, Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4TR.

A Freedom of Information request has to be answered within 20 working days of the council receiving it.

We will either provide the information you have asked for or let you know if we:

  • do not hold the information you want
  • if it is already publicly available (where or who you can get it from)
  • if any fee or charge applies
  • if some or all of the information cannot be released and why.

Most FOI requests are processed free of charge, but we will require a fee if finding the information will take more than 18 hours of work. If we do require a fee you will be told how much this will be before we provide information.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Freedom of Information requests

In the current climate, requests for information are likely to be delayed. This may be because we’re:

  • short of staff: they could have been deployed to critical services
  • unable to access the data you requested: staff could be working from home as they are following government guidance on social distancing.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have more on COVID-19 and your information rights.

We’ll continue to do our best to respond.

Thank you for your patience.

Information that cannot be released

On some occasions we may have a good reason for withholding information you have asked for.

The Act contains a number of exemptions, which fall into two categories - 'absolute' or 'qualified'.

If information falls into the 'absolute' category the council is not obliged to release it.

If information falls into the 'qualified' category it means we have to decide whether it is in the public interest to release or withhold the information.

Information may be withheld if:

  • we intend to publish the information in future
  • the law says we must not release it
  • it would breach confidentiality or the Data Protection Act
  • it would harm law enforcement and investigations, health and safety, or national security.

If we decide to withhold information we will tell you why and explain your rights to a review.

Find out about exemptions in detail on the Ministry of Justice website

If you are not satisfied with the response

If you disagree with any exemptions applied to your FOI request or are not satisfied with how we have handled your request, you are entitled to a review. You will be advised on how to ask for a review when your request is answered.