The Freedom of Information Act says that people should have access to all types of recorded information held by Mid Sussex.

This means that if you request information we must reply to you - even if we do not have that information.

Please note: The Freedom of Information Act may stop us giving you the information you want. If this is the case - we will give you a full explanation.

How do I make a Freedom of Information request?

Requests for information can be made:

Submit a Freedom of Information request

Email: foi@midsussex.gov.uk

Responses are normally sent out within 20 working days.

For more information or help in filling out the form please contact:

Tel: 01444-477422
Email: foi@midsussex.gov.uk

Please note: You can also use the above to request information under Environmental Information Regulations. Certain requests may also attract a charge.

Please visit our Freedom of Information FAQs page for more information on:

  • Fees
  • Exemptions
  • Environmental Information Regulations
  • Data-protection and more

Our publication scheme

Our publication scheme is a guide to all our published information. A place to find the information you are looking for without having to make a request.

Our scheme explains:

  • The kinds of information we make available
  • The way this information is provided
  • What we may charge for

Please take a look at our latest Publication scheme - updated September 2016.

Freedom of Information fees

We are allowed under the Freedom of Information Act to refuse your request if:

Your request for information costs us more than £450

Or:

The amount of work involved in finding and retrieving the information is likely to exceed 18 hours / 2.5 working days.

For more information please contact: foi@midsussex.gov.uk.

How will I know if my request costs more than £450?

You will be informed of the fee before any work goes ahead.

You will also give you the option to change your request to bring it under the £450 limit.

Please note: Where there is an existing fee for information - such as for copies of the Local Plan or contaminated land information - these charges will still apply. Take a look at Freedom of Information charges for more details.

When do I have to pay?

You must pay us before any work is done.

Your request will be closed if you do not pay us within 90 days of the fees letter being sent to you.

Freedom of Information exemptions

There are two types of exemptions that can be applied under the Freedom of Information Act. They are:

  • Absolute exemptions - The Public Interest Test does not apply
  • Qualified exemptions - The Public Interest Test applies

Please Note: We will always explain why we cannot give you your requested information - unless to do so would mean releasing exempt information.

Absolute exemptions

Exemptions where the public interest test does not apply:

  • Section 21 - Information accessible by other means
  • Section 23 - National security. Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters. A certificate signed by a Minister of the Crown is conclusive proof that the exemption is justified. There is a separate appeals mechanism against such certificates
  • Section 32 - Court records
  • Section 34 - Parliamentary privilege. A certificate signed by the Speaker of the House, in respect of the House of Commons, or by the Clerk of the Parliament, in respect of the House of Lords is conclusive proof that the exemption is justified
  • Section 36 - Effective Conduct of Public Affairs. Information held by the House of Commons or the House of Lords
  • Section 40: Personal information. Where the applicant is the subject of the information. The applicant already has the right of ‘subject access' under the Data Protection Act 1998 - where the information concerns a third party and disclosure would breach one of the data protection principles
  • Section 41 - Information provided 'in confidence'. Please note simply marking an item confidential does not necessarily make it 'confidential'
  • Section 44 - Prohibitions on disclosure. Where a disclosure is prohibited by an enactment or would constitute contempt of court
Qualified exemptions

Exemptions where the public interest test applies:

  • Section 22: Information intended for future publication exemption
  • Section 24: National security. Other than information supplied by or relating to named security organisations, where the duty to consider disclosure in the public interest does not apply
  • Section 26: Defence
  • Section 27: International relations
  • Section 28: Relations within the United Kingdom
  • Section 29: UK economic interests
  • Section 30: Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities
  • Section 31: Law enforcement
  • Section 33: Audit functions
  • Section 35: Formulation of government policy and ministerial communications
  • Section 36: Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs - except information held by the House of Commons or the House of Lords
  • Section 37: Communications with Her Majesty, the Royal Family or concerning honours
  • Section 38: Health and safety
  • Section 39: Environmental information. This can be accessed through the Environmental Information Regulations
  • Section 40: Personal information relating to a third party access request
  • Section 42: Legal professional privilege
  • Section 43: Commercial interests

Environmental Information Regulations (EIR)

What are the Environmental Information Regulations?

They are Environment Agency regulations for:

  • Air
  • Water
  • Soil
  • Land
  • Landscape and natural sites
  • Flora and fauna - including cattle, crops, GMO's, wildlife and biological diversity - and interaction between them
  • Human health and safety
  • The food chain
  • Cultural sites and built structures
  • substances, energy, noise, radiation or waste affecting or likely to affect the state of the elements of the environment and interaction between them
  • Policies, legislation, plans, programmes and environmental agreements
  • Activities affecting or likely to affect, or intended to protect the state of elements of the environment and the interaction between them
  • Emissions discharges and other releases into the environment
  • Cost benefit and other economic analysis used in environmental decision making

Any member of the public has the right to access information about how the Environment Agency are enforcing these regulations.

This right of access provides the opportunity to participate in their decision making process.

The Environment Agency makes public all applications for permits to:

  • Industry
  • Business
  • And individuals
How do I make an Environmental Information Regulations request?

Requests for information can be made:

Online: Secure Freedom of Information form
Email: foi@midsussex.gov.uk

Responses are normally sent out within 20 working days.

For further information or help in filling out the form please contact:

Tel: 01444-477422
Email: foi@midsussex.gov.uk

How much does it cost?

If getting your information takes more than 18 hours  - 2.5 working days - then the authority will charge you at a rate of £25 per hour for the total amount of time taken to get your information.

For more information please contact: foi@midsussex.gov.uk.

Please note: Where there is an existing fee for information - such as for copies of the Local Plan or contaminated land information - these charges will still apply. For more details please take a look at Freedom of Information charges

When do I have to pay?

You must pay us before any work is done.

If you do not pay us within 60 days of the fees letter being sent to you then your request will be closed.

Why may my request be refused?

A request for information can be refused or partly withheld if:

  • We don't hold the information. The request may then be transferred
  • The request is unreasonable
  • The request is too general
  • The request is for unfinished documents or data
  • The request is for internal communications

A public authority may also refuse or partly withhold information due to:

  • Confidentiality of proceedings
  • International relations such as public security and defence
  • The course of justice and right to fair trial
  • Commercial confidentiality
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Personal and voluntary data
  • Environmental protection

If your request is refused we will contact you and explain the reasons why.

Responses to Freedom of Information requests

We keep records of:

  • The number of Freedom of Information requests per month
  • Our response times

These records are kept online for the current year and for the previous four years.

Responses 2014-2018

The records for these years can now be found on our Freedom of Information datashare site.

Re-use of public sector information

Please see our Open Government Licence page for information of the re-use of public sector information. 

Contact us

Senior Information Governance Officer
Tel: 01444-477422
E-mail: foi@midsussex.gov.uk

Last updated: 20 June 2018