The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives individuals or organisations the right to access information from any public authority, which includes Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS).
RBFRS has three responsibilities under the Act -
- We must routinely publish information listed in our Publication Scheme according to the model scheme outlined by the Information Commissioner’s Office.
- We must provide a guide to the scheme to help people find the information that they need.
- We must respond to requests for information not covered by the publication scheme following set procedures.
RBFRS publishes the information covered by the Publication Scheme on our website.
Depending on the type of information you ask for, your request will be handled under different legislation, such as the:
- Freedom of Information Act (FOI).
- Environmental Information Regulations (EIR).
- Data Protection Act (DPA).
Before you make a request, please check our website, Publication Scheme and Request Disclosure Logs for the information you are seeking.
If you do want to make a request for information, which is not currently available please contact FOI@rbfrs.co.uk
Our postal address is:
Information Governance Team
Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service
We will aim to respond to your request within 20 working days of receiving it.
- What details do I need to include in my request?
The Authority will help you as much as possible but is not required to look for the information you request unless it receives:
- A clear and understandable request with enough detail to locate the information.
- A name and address for correspondence.
- What can I request under FOI?
The Freedom of Information Act requires us to routinely publish the information detailed in our information guide (which follows the structure based on the model publication scheme). We also provide a great deal of information about RBFRS on our website. You can, however, make a request for any other information we hold if we have not already published it. We must provide you with a copy of this information unless it is covered by an exemption to the Act or other legal restrictions.
Some information may not be routinely published as it:
- Requires redaction (parts of it may need to be blacked out).
- Is not published within RBFRS.
- What exclusions may there be to the information I can receive?
Some information held may not be made public, for example, information relating to court records, law enforcement or third party personal data. The Authority will usually state that it holds the information but is not publishing it. A reason for not publishing will then be provided. In a few circumstances the Authority may decide to neither confirm nor deny that it holds the information requested.
When the estimated cost of providing the information is above £450 the Authority is not under any duty to provide the information. The Authority will attempt to assist you in being able to gather as much information as possible within that limit. The Authority does have a system in place to protect against going over the £450 limit and will be able to identify where requests for information are being made piecemeal in order to avoid the £450 limit.
- Do I have to pay for information in the Publication Scheme?
All information on our website is available free of charge. If there are any charges for any other requested information it will be clearly explained in our ‘Instances where a Fee may be Requested’ document. If a fee is applicable a fees notice will be sent to the applicant. The applicant has three months to pay the fee. In such circumstances the information will be supplied once the fee has been paid.
- Will I be able to obtain personal information about myself under the Act?
Requests for personal information are answered under the Data Protection Act 1998. The Authority will treat such requests as subject access requests (SAR) or third party requests. There is a fee of £10 for information requests administered in this way. For further information, see the Personal Data section.
- Who ensures that RBFRS complies with the Act?
The Information Commissioner is responsible for ensuring that all public authorities comply with the Act.
If you are not satisfied with the assistance that you get from the Authority or a complaint is not resolved, you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office at:
Information Commissioner's Office
The Information Commissioner’s Office website (www.ico.org.uk) contains a vast amount of information relating to Freedom of Information and other allied legislation.