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When we do not have to give information

The Council is not obliged to supply information if the cost involved is judged to be excessive. The definition of excessive cost is determined under regulations issued by the Department of Constitutional Affairs, not by the County Council.

The Council will not supply information that is covered by an exemption from disclosure. There are two types of exemption: absolute and qualified exemptions.

An absolute exemption means that we do not have to give you the information requested if it is, for example:

    • available by other means, e.g. in our Freedom of Information Publication Scheme, from one of Norfolk County Council’s Libraries, from the Norfolk Record Office, or from one of our Council Information Centres

    • Personal data (although it might be possible to provide information under the Data Protection Act 1998, in which case requests should be sent in writing to the appropriate departmental Data Protection officer)

    • Court documents – but information from which court documents are drawn may not be exempt

    • Information, disclosure of which would constitute a breach of confidence.

A qualified exemption can only be used if the exemption is met and “the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information”. Qualified exemptions can be considered if, for example, the information requested:

    • is intended to be published in the future

    • relates to legal investigations and proceedings in progress

    • is, in the opinion of a ‘qualified’ person – a minister of the crown or someone they appoint - likely to inhibit the free and frank provision of advice or free and frank exchange or views or would otherwise prejudice the effective conduct of affairs if it is disclosed

    • is likely to prejudice health and safety if it is disclosed

    • is privileged legal advice

    • is likely to prejudice the commercial interests of the County Council or any other person or organisation.

If we can’t give you all the information you want because parts of it are exempt, we still have to give you what we can.

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