Freedom of Information

General

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives a right of access to a wide range of information held by public authorities, including local councils, central government,  the police, schools and NHS.

The Act came into effect in two stages - since March 2003 public authorities have been required to maintain a Publication Scheme and from January 2005 any person has a statutory right to request information under the Act.

Publication Scheme

The publication scheme is a guide to the type of information we routinely publish.

Please take a look at the publication scheme before making a request, to see whether the information you require is included.

If the information you wish to see is not included within the scheme, you are still able to make a request under the general right of access.

How to make a request

You can make a request in writing or by email, to the appropriate service area or Brent Customer Services.

Alternatively you can email foi@brent.gov.uk or write to:

Principal FOI Officer
Brent Civic Centre
Engineers Way
Wembley
HA9 0FJ

We have an obligation to inform you whether the council holds that information and if it does to provide the information (subject to exemptions) within 20 working days of receipt of your request.

Exemptions

The Act does provide certain exemptions to the general right of access. If any of the information requested is exempt, you will be informed which exemption applies and why. Examples include information that is commercially sensitive, confidential or readily available elsewhere.

Some requests for information may be covered by other legislation, such as environmental information which can be accessed through Environmental Information Regulations or personal data which is covered by the Data Protection Act 1998.

Should we be unable to supply anything you request, we will explain the reasons to you.

Fees

Generally there will be no fee or charge for requested information.

However, we will charge for disbursements, or in other words for photocopying, postage etc., where they will exceed £2.

The cost of disbursements based on the following:

  • 10p per sheet of photocopy, print out and printed covering letter, regardless of sheet size or colour copy
  • the actual cost of postage
  • where a specific request is made for presentation in a particular form, the actual cost of doing so (e.g. CD Rom)
  • £25 per hour for staff time if it is necessary for a member of staff to accompany somebody requesting to inspect records (this should be refused if there is a danger of them accessing confidential or otherwise sensitive information even if accompanied)
  • costs of translation into another language
  • VAT will be chargeable in the circumstances that someone else holds the information as well as us

The Fees Regulations state that responding to high cost requests that will cost over £450 is discretionary.

The Executive of Brent Council has decided that such requests will be refused.

Business Rate Accounts

We receive regular requests for information relating to business rates accounts.

View our most frequently requested data.  

The data included is:

  • All NNDR properties
  • Accounts with rate relief and those not receiving relief
  • Empty properties

We will not be responding to Freedom of Information requests where the data that is asked for is available from this file.  Other requests will continue to be answered in the same way via foi@brent.gov.uk

All the information is contained within one file and is a snapshot as at 1 November 2017.  This will be updated every three months.

Please note that we do not release details of accounts in credit – there have been several decisions lately that mean we do not have to release this data due to sections 12, 31 and 41 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The report containsproperty reference number, property address, property description, rateable value, liable party, liability start date, empty property indicator, date property became empty, current relief type (see table below), current relief amount, relief award start date and correspondence address for companies

The key to reliefs is shown below.

Relief type Description
Mandatory Charity Relief only 80% statutory occupied charity relief
Discretionary Charity Relief only 0-100% at the council's discretion in respect of charities/non-profit making bodies (criteria and details on council’s web site)
Mandatory and Discretionary Relief 80% statutory relief plus up to 20% discretionary top up relief
Small business rates relief Relief for occupied properties with RV's up to £15,000. Additional properties - providing none of the other properties have a rateable value above £2899 and the total Rateable Value of all the occupied properties is under £28,000.
Small/Medium/Large Reval Reduction Revaluation Support – the council’s discretionary scheme for those who had increases in their bills due to the revaluation (details on the website)
London Living Wage Discount to those companies who become accredited with the Living Wage Foundation
Public House Relief £1000.00 relief to qualifying pubs as announced in the govt’s budget (details on council’s website)
Supporting Small Business Relief to those who saw reductions in their small business rate relief due to the revaluation (criteria and details on councils website)

Council Tax

We receive regular requests for details of empty domestic properties.  However in line with the decision of Voyias vs ICO in January 2013 we will only release the first part of the postcode and the date the property became empty.  If you still want this information then please submit a formal request to foi@brent.gov.uk

 

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Re-use of info

Re-use of Public Sector Information (PSI)

New regulations governing the re-use of public sector information came into force in July 2005 (Statutory Instrument 1515).

These provide that public sector bodies have a discretion to permit the 're-use' of information and sets out guidelines for doing so.

Other than for commercial purposes the we are happy to permit re-use but cannot accept any liability arising from the use of the information.

If you wish to re-use information that has been made available to you through FOI for commercial purposes you will need to apply for permission in writing or by email to the IT Standards Manager.

 

 

Complaints

Should you be dissatisfied with the outcome of your request for information you have the right to complain, which will trigger an internal review. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the review, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner.

To request a review, contact the Complaints and FOI manager by:

Email

foi@brent.gov.uk

Writing to

Complaints and FOI manager
Brent Civic Centre
Engineers Way
Wembley
HA9 0FJ

Taking your complaint to the Information Commissioner

The Information Commissioner can be contacted by:

Email

casework@ico.org.uk (please include your telephone number)

Telephone

0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 if you prefer to use a national rate number

Fax

01625 545 510

Writing to

The Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow, Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Website

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