Access to Information
West Berkshire Council complies with the access to information legislation. This page gives more information on how to access your own personal data or the information which the Council holds to enable it to carry out its statutory functions.
The Data Protection Act 1998 covers personal data held in electronic and manual files. The Act sets out eight principles covering how we must manage personal data, and is intended to prevent, for example, inaccurate, unnecessary or improper processing. The Act also enables an individual to access their own personal data held by the Council, and allows the Council forty days to provide the information. The right of access includes a right to ask for inaccurate information to be changed.
Requests for personal data may be made by letter although a form is available to use - this gives more information on the process for managing your request and we would encourage you to use this as it helps us manage our process. Requests generally cost £10, although there are some exceptions.
West Berkshire Council has a Policy statement on Access to Information [144kb], and has also published guidance for staff and the public on their rights under the Act and on how to obtain access to personal information. This section of the internet includes this published information and links to other relevant websites.
Freedom of Information and Environmental Information
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 together give the public access to the majority of published and recorded information held by public authorities. (An individual seeking access to their own personal data should use the procedures relating to the Data Protection Act - see above).
Under the Act all published information within the public domain must be referenced through our Publication Scheme, and all other recorded information (apart from environmental information) may nevertheless be subject to access by a member of the public if it is requested in writing. The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 replace those of 1992, and gives the public access to the published and recorded environmental information held by public authorities. Under the Regulations all environmental information may be subject to a request by a member of the public (whether in writing, verbally or by phone).
Requests can be made by letter, fax, email or on a form. If you make a request by phone we may ask you to confirm in writing that we have recorded your request correctly. There may be charges for photocopies or publication costs, (hard copy, disc or CD Rom), but no costs for administration will be charged unless the time required to manage the request exceeds 18 hours, or the information is already supplied to the public under other legislation which makes provision for charging.
The Act is supported by two Codes of Practice on Access and Records Management, and public authorities are obliged to produce a Publication Scheme. The Regulations are supported by a Code of Practice, and the information is also referenced on the Publication Scheme. The Publication Scheme was revised in 2008.
West Berkshire Council has a Publication Scheme, a Policy statement on Access to Information, and has also published guidance on the right of access under the Act, and on the exemptions which may apply to some information. This section of the internet includes this published information and links to other relevant websites.