Part 4 - Rules of access to information about the County Council's formal business
Below are the rules of access to information about the County Council's formal business.
- 1 - Introduction
- 2 - The public's right to attend meetings
- 3 - The public’s right to obtain copies of the agenda to meetings and reports and documents that are to be discussed at meetings
- 4 - Sub-committees, panels and groups
- 5 - Decisions by the Leader of the Council, Cabinet Members and Officers
- 6 - Minutes of meetings and executive decisions
- 7 - Charges for the supply of agenda, reports and background papers
- 8 - The special rules that apply to “key decisions”
- 9 - Exceptions to the need to publish notice of a key decision 28 days in advance
- 10 - The general exception rule
- 11 - The special urgency rule
- 12 - Scrutiny committees
- 13 - Elected Members’ additional rights of access to information
- 14 - Additional rights of access to information by Scrutiny Committees
- 14 - Elected Members’ duty of confidence
- Appendix to rules on the public's right of access to information about the council's formal business
The list below describes each of the categories of “exempt information” that, in accordance with the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006 and with effect from 1 March 2006, are specified in Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.
- Information relating to any individual.
- Information that is likely to reveal the identity of an individual.
- Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the Authority holding that information).
- Information relating to any consultations or negotiations, or contemplated consultations or negotiations, in connection with any labour relations matter arising between the Authority or a Minister of the Crown and employees of, or office holders under the Authority.
- Information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings.
- Information, which reveals that the Authority proposes:
(a) To give under enactment a notice under or by virtue of which requirements are imposed on a person; or
(b) To make an order or direction under any enactment.
7. Information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.
The above categories are subject to the following qualifications:
(i) Information within paragraph 3 is not exempt if it must be registered under various statutes, such as the Companies Act or Charities Act;
(ii) Information in the above categories is not exempt if it relates to proposed development for which the Council may grant itself planning permission for development by the Council (Regulation 3, Town and Country Planning General Regulations 1992);
(iii) Information in the above categories is not exempt if and so long, as in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information (the “public interest test”).
Note: The public interest test is in keeping with the approach adopted in Section 2 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Each case must be considered separately and rigid guidelines cannot be adopted. Simply identifying information as falling within the above categories does not alone mean it is exempt. There must now be stronger reasons for non-disclosure than under previous exempt information rules.
Advice should be sought from the Council’s Data Protection and Freedom of Information Officer and/or Legal Services.