Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act (2000) gives you the right to access and ask for information held by Wigan Council and other public bodies.

Available information

Before you consider making a request please take a look at the various sections of our website as the information you are looking for may already be publicly available:

What is the Publication Scheme?

The Publication Scheme is a document which details all the information routinely available under FOI. Please check this and Open Data as the information you are requesting may already be publicly available.

What is Open Data? 

We are committed to being open and transparent about how we work, our decision-making processes and the services we provide. As part of this commitment we are increasing the amount of data that we make available publicly so that residents are able to hold us to account better.

We have used the government’s Code of Recommended Practice for Local Authorities on Data Transparency (external link), which recommends the datasets councils should make available as a minimum, as a starting point for deciding what information we should make available.

How do I ask for information?

  • Online - You can submit a FOI request via our online form.
  • Write to us - You can make a request by post and send it to: Freedom of Information, Resources Directorate, PO Box 100, WN1 3DS.

Further information

In your request you can ask questions, or request documents, reports or correspondence. Please ensure that you:

  • Provide a clear and specific description of what we should be looking for
  • Include your name and address or email address and a phone number so that we can contact you if we need to clarify details regarding your request
  • Specify if you require the information in a specific format e.g. a hard or electronic copy, large print etc.

Will there be a charge?

If we can provide the information within 18 hours of staff time there will be no charge. However, charges may be made for costs incurred such as photocopying, printing, postage and packaging, but only if these charges amount to more than £20.00.

If a charge is to be made, confirmation of the payment due will be given before the information is provided and payment may be requested prior to releasing the information.

Responding to your request

We will respond to your request within 20 working days and if there is likely to be a delay, we will tell you. This time limit might occasionally be extended if we have to consider complex legal issues, but we will always let you know. We will also explain why the delay is necessary and will always try to provide information as soon as possible.

We can refuse to give you the information you request if:

  • The cost of providing the information exceeds £450 (based on 18 hours at a cost of £25 per hour)
  • We do not hold the information you are looking for
  • The information is exempt from disclosure under the Act
  • Your request is considered vexatious or repeated.

More information can be found on the ICO website (external link).

What happens if I am not satisfied with the response I get?

If you have not received the information you asked for, or if some of it has been withheld, the Council has a complaints procedure for FOI requests.

You must put your complaint in writing within 40 working days of receiving the Council’s response, giving the reasons for your complaint. You can either email or write to Freedom of Information at the address above and your complaint will be referred to a senior officer.

Can I have my personal information under FOI?

If you want your own information, you are entitled to it under Data Protection, rather than FOI. The rules for personal and non-personal information are slightly different.

Performance data

We publish details of our compliance in responding to FOI and Environmental Information Regulation (EIR) requests.

From 1st April 2019 onwards, we will publish these statistics quarterly for the periods ending June, September, December and March.

The data is published a month after the end of the quarter. This is because public authorities have up to 20 working days to respond to FOI and EIR requests, and reporting a month after the end of the quarter allows time for the outcomes of all requests made during that quarter to be captured.

© Wigan Council