Section 12 of the Section 45 Code of Practice of the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) places a duty on public authorities to put a complaints process in place to ensure that applicants are able to ask the public authority for an internal review if they are not content with the public authorities decision on the release of information. This provides a first review stage for the applicants.
Applicants may be unhappy with the treatment they have received if:
1. Their application was not dealt with within 20 working days.
2. They did not receive all of the information requested.
3. They feel that exemptions have been wrongly applied.
4. They feel that a fee has been wrongly charged.
If Nottingham College refuse to supply the information requested, or the applicant is dissatisfied with our response, or feels that a fee has been applied unfairly they may ask for an internal review of that decision.
The following principles will apply when considering an appeal request:
- The review will be undertaken by an individual who was not involved in the original request for information – if the FOI contact has not been involved then they will undertake the review, if the FOI contact was involved in the request for information then Assistant Principal Corporate or the Deputy Principal Resources will be involved with the review.
- If the applicant has not received a response to a request for information within 20 working days it may be regarded that Nottingham College has refused the request – the individual therefore has a right of appeal.
- All reviews will make an assessment of the information released against the information requested and make a full review of the information associated with the original application.
- The reviewer will discuss the decisions made with the staff members concerned with the original request in order to gain a full picture of how decisions were made.
- The reviewer may contact the applicant at their own discretion.
- The reviewer may obtain advice from external sources including legal advice.
- Conclusion will be summarized and handed to the FOI contact who will log them centrally for future reference.
- An internal review must be completed before an appeal can be made to the information commissioner.
Nottingham College will aim to deal with simple appeals within 3 weeks of the receipt of the appeal.
- Nottingham College will aim to deal with complex appeals within 6 weeks of the receipt of the appeal.
- If it becomes clear at any stage of the appeal that the above timescales cannot be met Nottingham College will inform the applicant in writing and give a revised deadline for completion of the review.
An internal review may have three outcomes:
- The original decision is reversed
- The original decision is amended
- The original decision is upheld
Whatever the outcome of the appeal the complainant will be informed in writing with appropriate information about what will be provided should a decision be reversed or amended.
Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your original request and should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply to the Information Commissioner (the independent body who oversees the Freedom of Information Act) at:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Cheshire SK9 5AF