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Rights of Access available to the Citizen

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Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Publication Scheme

Individuals have the right of access to personal information about themselves under the Data Protection Act 1998. The Council has a data protection officer from whom you can obtain a Subject Access Request form. Contact:

The Data Protection Officer
Dudley MBC
Finance Department
Council House
Dudley
West Midlands
DY1 1HF

The Council may charge a fee (£10.00 for most personal information although this may be higher for Educational Records) for this service.

Some information, which is held by the Council, is made publicly available because the law requires this. Examples of such information are electoral registers, Planning Applications and those holding licenses. The Data Protection Act does not restrain the publication of information where it is required by law.

For most other types of information, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or the Environmental Information Regulations provide a way to gain access.

Two mechanisms for placing information into the public domain exist.

The General Right of Access came into force on 1st January 2005. This established a right for any person making a request to the Council to be informed in writing whether or not the Council actually holds the information sought and, if so, to have access to that information, subject to exemptions.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 also requires the Council to publish information that it holds. The Publication Scheme meets this requirement and provides a source of information to enable citizens to access information produced by the Council.

Dudley Council is committed to open and transparent government and believes that making information available to the public is central to the democratic process. 

Both Information requests and Data Protection requests may be made online or a request can be made in writing and sent to the address shown above. 

Citizens have a number of rights in their dealings with the Council. These are set out in more detail in the Council’s Constitution. A full copy of the Council’s constitution can be obtained free of charge from the Council’s website at www.dudley.gov.uk

Some of these are legal rights, such as those mentioned above, whilst others depend on the Council’s own processes. 

Where members of the public use specific Council services, for example as a parent of a school pupil or as a Council tenant, they have additional rights. In general though, citizens have the right to:

  • Vote at local elections if they are registered;
  • Contact their local Councillor about any matters of concern to them;
  • Obtain a copy of the Constitution;
  • Attend meetings of the Council and its Committees except where, for example, personal or confidential matters are discussed;
  • Petition to request a referendum on a mayoral form of executive;
  • Find out, from the Executive’s forward plan, what major decisions are to be discussed by the Executive or decided by the Executive or officers, and when;
  • Attend meetings of the Executive where key decisions are being discussed or decided;
  • See reports and background papers, and any record of decisions made by the Council and Executive.
  • Complain to the Council under its Corporate Complaints Procedure;
  • Complain to the Ombudsman if they think the Council has not followed its procedures properly. However, they should only do this after using the Council’s own complaints process;
  • Complain to the Standards Board for England if they have evidence which they think shows that a Councillor has not followed the Council’s Code of Conduct; and Inspect the Council’s accounts during defined periods of the year.

 

The Council welcomes participation by its citizens in its work. 

A statement of the rights of citizens to inspect agendas and reports and attend meetings is available at the Council House, Priory Road, Dudley. 

Members of the public also have a legal right of access to environmental information under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.