Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information Act means that you can ask for any information that is held by the housing company, and we must provide it to you unless an exemption applies.
If we decide that we cannot disclose the information we will tell you why and what you can do if you are unhappy with our decision.
We already publish a lot of information in our literature and online, but if this does not cover what you are looking for, you can submit a written request.
How do I request information under the Freedom of Information Act?
Your request must be made in writing (by letter or e-mail) and should contain:
- Your name
- An address for us to contact you
- A description of the information you are interested in.
You can send your requests to:
- Governance and Risk Lead, The Gateshead Housing Company, Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead, NE8 1JN.
What information can I obtain?
Unless it is exempt you will be able to obtain any information that the company holds, including:
- Our policies and plans
- How we handle issues and make decisions
- Financial information
- Our performance.
A lot of information is already publicly available through online, but if we don’t hold the information you require we will try to direct you to the relevant source.
Can I get personal information that the company holds on me?
Not under the Freedom of Information Act – please see section on data protection.
Is there any information I cannot access?
You may not have access to certain information if it is exempt – more information about the exemptions is available from the Information Commissioner. If we decide that we cannot disclose the information you have requested we will explain the reasons for our decision.
How much will it cost?
Freedom of Information requests are generally free of charge unless retrieval and extracting of the information is more than the ‘appropriate limit’ which is set at £450. This means that we cannot charge for staff time where the costs of this work is less than £450, with the cost of staff time being calculated at £25 per hour. This effectively means that it must take more than 18 hours.
How quickly will I get the information?
We are required to respond to freedom of information requests within 20 working days.
What can I do if I am not happy with the company’s decision on my request?
If you are not happy with the outcome of your request, you can make a complaint through the company’s freedeom of information internal review procedure. We will provide you with details of how to complain when we respond to your request.
Internal reviews will be carried out by the Managing Director. We will acknowledge your request for a review within two days of receiving it and confirm when we expect to be able to respond, which is usually within 20 working days. There may be very rare occasions when we are unable to respond within this timeframe, if the request is very complex for example. In these cases we will notify you of when a response can be expected.
Once the Managing Director has considered your request you will be informed of his decision, the reasons for it and how to make a further appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office if you are still unhappy.
Where can I get further information?
The Information Commissioner’s Office is responsible for ensuring that all public authorities comply with the Freedom of Information and Data Protection Acts.
If you need advice on making a freedom of information request please contact the company’s Governance and Risk Lead at:
0191 433 5308