Making a complaint about a freedom of information request

If you have made a Freedom of Information request and are unhappy with how your enquiry has been dealt with then there is action you can take.

What does the law say?

One of the requirements of the code 45 is that public authorities should have a complaints procedure in place for anyone who is dissatisfied with the way in which their request has been processed. This may include the way in which the Authority handled the request, the outcome of the request or the authority’s decision on whether to release the requested information.

If you have received a response but you are not happy with it, please contact the person who responded to your original request, to see if your concerns can be resolved informally. Alternatively you can contact us direct.

In response to your request the Authority may either decline to confirm or deny that it holds the information, the authority may refuse to disclose the information on the grounds of an absolute exemption applying; if it is a qualified exemption we will set out the factors which were considered when applying the public interest test.

Review Process

If you believe that this is not a reasonable decision, please contact the Freedom of Information Team, explaining your dissatisfaction and reason for complaint.

The Authority will acknowledge your complaint within five working days and explain what will happen next.

In most cases this will involve a review process by the Chief Executive responsible for Freedom of Information. We will respond in writing within 25 working days, explaining the decision and reasons why.

If you are still dissatisfied with any aspect of the Authority's decision you can appeal to the Information Commissioner who has responsibility for ensuring compliance with the Act. His/her powers of enforcing the legislation are laid down in Code 50 of the Act.

Information Commissioner Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Telephone: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 if you prefer to use a national rate number
Fax: 01625 524 510


Code 45 of the Act sets out the practices which the Government expect local authorities to follow.

The Act establishes a 20 working day deadline to respond to a request for information, if you have not received a response in this time period please contact:

Freedom of Information Team
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service
ST15 0BS

Tel: 01785 898658