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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.

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

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. 

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

How do I make an FOIA 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.

Make an FOIA request to North Dorset, West Dorset or Weymouth & Portland Councils

Make an FOI request

If you need to make an FOI request to either North Dorset, West Dorset or Weymouth & Portland councils please use this form.

Make an FOIA request to The Dorset Waste Partnership, Christchurch, Dorset County, East Dorset or Purbeck Councils 

To make an FOIA request to the above councils you will need to email them directly. 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.


Alternatively you can print our Information Request Form and post it to the relevant 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.. If you want to use the information for commercial gain please view the Public Sector Information(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

Compliance Statistics

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 Section 45 Code of Practice July 2018, the links below provide quarterly compliance statistics on the number of requests received, the outcomes of requests, response rates and appeals.

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