This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Details of Empty Commercial Properties'.

Complaints FOI leaflet  11/4/08  1:33 pm  Page A
Access to information
and appeals 
If you would like a copy of this in larger print
please contact:

The Corporate Information 
Governance Manager, Solihull Council, 
P O Box 18, Council House,
Solihull, B91 9QS
☎ 0121 704 6251 

April 2008

Complaints FOI leaflet  11/4/08  1:33 pm  Page 1
What are FOI, EIR and DPA
Access to information: 
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) gives people a general
complaints and appeals procedure
right of access to information held by or on behalf of public authorities. 
The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) give similar
rights of access but specifically to information relating to, or affecting,
the environment.
At Solihull Council we are committed to putting the needs of our
customers first. We aim to deliver high quality services and get things
The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) sets out a series of principles
right first time.  However, from time to time, you may be unhappy with
which we must keep to when we use your personal information. 
how we have dealt with your requests for information and want to tell
It also gives you certain rights, including the right to see what personal
us about it. 
information we hold about you.
We have a complaints procedure in place to deal with issues about
Council services.  However, we also have a stand-alone complaints
What is an appeal?
process to deal with complaints in relation to your rights to access
If you have asked for information and have been refused some or all of it
you should have been told why. If you disagree with our reasoning and
This applies to all requests for information made under the Freedom of
the decision not to release the information, then you may appeal against
Information Act, Environmental Information Regulations or Data
the decision.
Protection Act.  
This leaflet tells you about our appeals and complaints procedure in
relation to all three pieces of legislation.
Equal opportunities
You have a right to be treated with respect, dignity and fairness in all
your contacts with us, regardless of your race, gender, disability, age,
culture, religion, status or sexuality.

Complaints FOI leaflet  11/4/08  1:33 pm  Page 3
What is a complaint?
What information do we need from you?
A complaint is when you tell us, either verbally or in writing, that you are
To help us deal with your complaint promptly please provide, in writing, 
dissatisfied with the service we have provided in relation to your request
the following.
for information.  For instance, you may feel we have failed to: 
• Your Name. 
• Respond to your request within statutory timescales. 
• Properly explain why we have refused your request.
• The address that you want us to send correspondence to: 
postal address, or email address and a daytime telephone number for 
• Provide you with help.
any queries.
• Follow the Council’s agreed procedure.
• Details of your complaint and/or of your appeal: tell us what the 
complaint relates to and/or why you disagree with our 
Who should I complain to?
decision not to release information to you.
In the first instance, please contact either by post, email or telephone:
• How you would like us to put matters right: describe what action you 
The Corporate Information Governance Manager,
would like us to take in relation to your complaint/appeal and what 
Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council,
outcome you are looking for.
PO Box 18 , Council House,
Solihull, B91 9QS.
☎ 0121 704 6251
How we will use your information
We will share the information you provide with relevant staff so we can
investigate the matter. We will also use the information for statistical and
If you want to speak with someone else, you may contact:
monitoring purposes. Sometimes we may be required to share the
The Senior Complaints Officer,
information with outside agencies and regulators.
Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council,
PO Box 18 , Council House, Solihull, B91 9QS.
☎ 0121 704 6761

Complaints FOI leaflet  11/4/08  1:33 pm  Page 5
Appeals and complaints procedure
Stage 3 - Review Panel (Final Stage)
The procedure has 3 stages.  Here is an explanation of what happens at
each stage:
Your complaint or appeal will be heard by a review panel.  This will
be made up of two senior managers and a member of our legal
team.  There may also be other members of staff, depending on the
Stage 1- Informal
nature of your complaint or appeal.
When we receive your complaint or appeal, the Corporate
The panel will independently review and scrutinise the findings from
Information Governance Manager will contact you. We will try to
stages 1 and 2 and reach a final decision. We will invite you to the
solve the problem as quickly and informally as possible. We will try to
panel so that you can explain your reasons for complaining or
complete Stage 1 within 10 working days. If you remain dissatisfied,
appealing, although you may prefer to provide something in writing
the matter will be escalated to Stage 2.
We will try to complete the Stage 3 review within 20 working days. 
This is the final stage in the FOI, EIR and DPA Complaints and
Stage 2 - Formal 
Appeals process. If you still remain dissatisfied, you have the right to
We will ask a manager to investigate the matter.  They will have no
complain to the Information Commissioner. You should do this as
previous involvement with your request for information, and also be
soon as possible and certainly within two months of the review
independent of the service area which holds the information you
panel’s decision.
The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: 
They may need to contact you to gather further information and will
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF
interview relevant staff members involved in the matter. Once their
☎ 01625 545 700
investigations are completed, the manager will write a report outlining
their findings and recommendations in relation to your
The Head of Service responsible for the service area to which your
complaint/appeal relates will consider the findings of the report and
any recommendations made. They will then write to you explaining
the actions they intend to take as a result.
We will try to complete Stage 2 within 20 working days. If you remain
dissatisfied, you can ask for the matter to be escalated to Stage 3.