Sheffield Council aims to publish all Freedom of Information responses by 2022

Sheffield Council said it plans to have a Freedom of Information disclosure log from the start of the next financial year.

Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 10:52 am

It will include every response and request submitted under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Regulations Act 2004.

Gillian Duckworth, director of legal and governance at the council, said: “Sheffield Council does not currently have a log of Freedom of Information responses. However, this is one of our focuses and we aim to be publishing every response by April 2022.”

In the meantime, the council said it was building open data sites to share more figures on its operations.

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Sheffield Town Hall

The authority has come under fire for a historic lack of transparency, particularly in relation to the felling of thousands of street trees, and its FOI service was criticised for significant delays to responses it blamed on a backlog caused by Covid-19.

Data published by the council showed of the 1,085 requests received in the first three quarters of the 2020/21 financial year, 890 were responded to and of those, 335 were overdue.

Authorities such as South Yorkshire Police, Nottingham City Council and Scarborough Borough Council already publish FOI disclosure logs.

Some requests to and responses from Sheffield Council can currently be seen if publicly submitted through WhatDoTheyKnow.com.

FOI enables anyone to obtain information held by a public authority, providing set exemptions do not apply to the information being asked for, and authorities must respond within 20 working days.

If the request is for environmental information it will be handled under the Environmental Regulations Act.

For more information on how to submit information requests, what exemptions apply and how to raise a complaint to the Information Commissioner, visit: https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-information-request

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