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Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has been in force since 1 January 2005 and all councils in Dorset are committed to providing the public with as much information as possible.

This page sets out the councils' requirements under the legislation.

Can I see all information held by the council?

You can ask to see any information that the council holds, however some information may be subject to exemptions. There are 23 exemptions under the FOIA, some are absolute - meaning that no information can be released, and others are conditional - which means that the disclosure of the information should be weighed against the public interest test. If you would like to find out more information about the exemptions please view the Information Commissioners Office (opens in a new window)

Individuals have the right to access information held about themselves under the Data Protection Act.

What information is already available?

Under Section 19 of the Freedom of Information Act every public authority is obliged to have in place a publication scheme. The scheme commits us to proactively publish information and make it accessible to members of the public. See our Guide to published information for details of the types of information we make available.

Find out more about information we publish as part of our commitment to transparency.

How do I make an FOI request?

Firstly you need to know which council you need to make a request to. See a list of all functions and the council attached to them. (pdf, 193kb) (opens in a new window)

Make a Freedom of Information request

Emailed requests are preferable, however, postal addresses are provided within the contact details if you prefer.  If you wish, you may use the  Information Request Form (word, 21kb) (opens in a new window) but this is not a requirement. 

Please try and be as specific as possible when requesting information and include the following information in writing:

  • contact name
  • contact email address (or postal address if you do not have email)
  • the information you seek including time periods where applicable
  • the format of the information that you would prefer

Please note there is a statutory time limit of 20 working days for requests to be answered.

Disclosure log

To view disclosures by Dorset County Council please view the Disclosure Log 2016 to 2017 (pdf, 253kb) (opens in a new window). If you wish to see previous disclosures contact the FOI Team at

Response rates

To view the  response rates (pdf, 125kb) (opens in a new window) for Purbeck District Council.

Will there be a cost?

The majority of requests are free however there may be charges if the request takes over 18 hours work to compile or for photocopying charges over £5. If you want to use the information for commercial gain please view the Public Sector Information (opens in a new window) (PSI) regulations.

How do I appeal or make a complaint?

If you are not happy with the way your freedom of information request has been dealt with, you can ask the relevant council in writing to carry out an internal review.  If you are still not satisfied with the outcome, you can complain to the Information Commissioner (opens in a new window).

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