As a public authority, the Education Workforce Council welcomes data requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The Act was designed to improve transparency and trust between government and the public. Since the full provisions came into force in January 2005, public authorities are now obliged to publish certain information about their operations, and any member of the public is entitled to request that information. The Act covers any recorded information held by a public authority.
Before making a request
Prior to submitting a request, there are a few actions we would like members of the public to undertake to improve overall efficiency.
Secondly, the FOI Act covers recorded information that, for the most part, relates to the operational side of the organisation. Personal data isn’t generally covered by the Act. If you are seeking to find the personal data that is held about you, you will need to submit a subject access request (SAR). Guidance on the submission of a SAR can be found on our website.
How to make a request
Please ensure that any request you make is as clear and as specific as possible. This includes all types of information you require, any specific dates you are interested in, or any personnel within the organisation you think may hold the data.
For your request to be valid under the Act, it must meet the following criteria:
- It must be provided in writing. Letter, email and social media are all acceptable forms of submission.
- It must include the real name of the person or organisation making the request. If you are suspected of using a pseudonym, we reserve the right to ask for proof of identity.
- It must include an address for correspondence (either postal or email).
- Describes the information requested.
How your request will be handled
On receipt, your request will be logged and acknowledged. Per the Act, the organisation has 20 working days to provide a full response. This period starts on the next working day after the request is received. Unless the information is exempt from disclosure, the Council must respond during that time in the requested format, whether it be by telephone, letter, fax or email.
Under certain circumstances, the deadline can be extended. These include:
- Where the ‘public interest test’ must be considered.
- If, under Environmental Information Regulations, the request is considered complex or voluminous, the window may be extended to 40 days.
In the event the request isn’t clear, or there are missing details, we may reply to ask you for clarification before proceeding. The window for responding will be paused until we receive all required details from the you. The deadline will then be 20 working days from the receipt of the additional information.
If, after searches are conducted, we do not hold the requested information; you will be informed in writing. Where possible, we may direct you to another public authority that could assist you.
Will I be charged for making a request?
In rare cases, we may require a fee in order to comply with the request. However, we as an organisation do not charge a ‘flat fee’, we can only recover excessive administrative costs. This will be calculated in accordance with the legislation. Where a fee does apply, we will send a fees notice. The request (including the response deadline) will be put on hold until the fee is received. If you receive a fees notice, you must comply within three months for the request to proceed.
Can we refuse to comply with a request?
A request can be refused, partially or in its entirety, even if the required information has been recorded by the organisation. The following circumstances would allow for a refusal:
- If a request would be too costly or take up too much staff time;
- The request is vexatious and/or designed to disrupt the organisation;
- The request repeats a previous request from the same person.
- The information requested is exempt under the Act (examples include personal data that cannot be released under UK GDPR or information relating to government policy).
A full list of exemptions can be found in Part II of the Freedom of Information Act:
As a public authority established by the Education (Wales) Act 2014, our principal aims and main functions are set out in legislation. As a result, where an exemption applies, we as an organisation must consider the benefits of releasing information in the public interest against the detrimental impact of releasing it. If we consider the release of information to be in the public interest, we may release it despite an exemption.
If your request is refused, you will receive written confirmation outlining the reasons why this decision was taken.
Your right to complain and appeal
If you are unsatisfied with your response or how the process was handled, you may request an internal review to be conducted within the organisation. From receiving refusal notice, you have two months to file the complaint. For environmental information complaints, you should file the complaint within 40 working days.
Should you request it, the internal review will be acknowledged within five working days and carried out within 20 working days. It will be undertaken by members of staff who didn’t work on the initial response.
If you’re still not satisfied with the outcome, you can appeal directly to the ICO.
How to contact us
Telephone: 02920 460099
Data Protection Officer,
Education Workforce Council,
9th Floor, Eastgate House,
35-43 Newport Road,