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Complaints about Data Protection and Freedom of Information requests

The Freedom of Information Act, the Data Protection Act and the Environmental Information Regulations provide you with the right of access to information held by Gloucestershire County Council. You have the right to complain about the response you have received regarding your request for information as well as to complain about other breaches of the above legislations.

In this procedure, ‘complaint’ refers to an expression of dissatisfaction with Gloucestershire County Council’s compliance with the above legislation or the request for an internal review of the decision to withhold information in response to a request to access recorded information held by Gloucestershire County Council.

How to complain

Your complaint, or request for internal review, should be put into writing to us. You can :

• Send us a letter at 'Information Management Service, Gloucestershire County Council, Ground Floor, Block 3, Shire Hall, Westgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 2TG'

• E-mail us at foi@gloucestershire.gov.uk

You are welcome to provide supporting evidence. Any information provided will be used to help assess your complaint and, where appropriate, a full re-evaluation of the case will be undertaken, taking into account the issues you have raised.

Complaints should be made no later than 40 working days after you have received our response / become aware of a data breach. Complaints made after this time will be reviewed by the Information and Compliance Manager and a decision made as to whether the complaint will be investigated. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, such complaints will not be considered.

What can you complain about?

Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulation Complaints

1. The way the request was handled. This might include :

• Our failure to respond within 20 working days or explain why longer than 20 working days was required

• Our failure to provide proper advice and assistance

• Our failure to provide information in the requested format

• Our failure to properly explain any reasons for refusing the request

2. The information to which you have been given access. This might include :

• Our refusal to allow access to information

• Our decision to withhold some of the information requested

Publication Scheme Complaints

Complaints about the Publication Scheme (e.g. you have requested information from it and have not received what you were expecting) should be put into writing to us. You can :

• Send us a letter at 'Information Management Service, Gloucestershire County Council, Ground Floor, Block 3, Shire Hall, Westgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 2TG'

• E-mail us at foi@gloucestershire.gov.uk

Data Protection Complaints

1. The way the request was handled. This might include :

• Our failure to respond within 40 calendar days

2. The information to which you have been given access. This might include :

• Our refusal to allow access to information

• Our decision to withhold some of the information requested 

3. You feel a breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 has occurred. This might include :

• How your personal data has been used or shared

All complaints will be investigated a manager, with assistance from the Information Management Service.

What can you expect?

• Your complaint will be considered free of charge.

• Your complaint should be acknowledged promptly and within 3 days of receipt of the complaint.

• You should be informed of the target date for determining the complaint.

• Where it is apparent that determination of the complaint will take longer than the target time (for example because of the complexity of the particular case), you should be informed and provided with an explanation of the reason for the delay.

• You should always be informed of the outcome of your complaint within 40 working days of receipt of the complaint. This is a maximum and the council aims to provide responses within 20 working days.

• If an appeal against the decision to withhold information is upheld you will be provided with a statement of:

– The failure to comply

– The action that will be taken in order to comply

– The period within which that action is to be taken.

Possible Outcomes of Complaint

Possible Actions

Information should be disclosed which was previously withheld.

The information in question will be disclosed as soon as practicable and you will be informed how soon this will be.

 

Procedures have not been properly followed by Gloucestershire County Council staff.

 

An apology will be provided. (Appropriate steps should be taken to prevent similar errors occurring in future).

 

The initial decision to withhold information is upheld, or is otherwise in Gloucestershire County Council’s favour.

 

You will be informed of the decision and told about your right to apply to the Information Commissioner.

What can you do if you are not satisfied with the response to your complaint?

If your complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction, you have the right to appeal, in writing, to the Information Commissioner. You can :

• Send a letter to 'Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF'

• E-mail at mail@ico.gsi.gov.uk

Further information on the process can also be found at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk or by calling 03031 231113 (should you would prefer not to call an ‘03’ number, you can call 01625 545745. If you are calling from overseas, please call +44 1625 545745)

 

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