Informal Application for Access to Records

Verbal requests to view or obtain a copy of a record can be treated informally when the information relates to public documents or general records where it is clear the record can be disclosed.

The local authority can also chose to dispense with the requirement for a formal request in situations where a more informal process is preferred. Applicants should, however, always be informed that they have the option to make a formal request under LAFOIP.

Before releasing information the board must ensure that appropriate checks are in place to validate the identity of the person making the request.  All procedures regarding appropriate access including possible redaction of information must be followed.

Board policy or procedures should set out the types of informal requests that will be allowed. Typically this would include simple requests or requests by individuals for access to their own information, such as:

  • requests to view or obtain copies of public records;
  • requests by employees to view their own files; or
  • requests by parents to review their children’s records in cases where there are no exceptional circumstances or specific concerns about the privacy interests of the children.

A copy of a record can be supplied, even if the request is informal.

Informal access will not require use of an LAFOIP application form, payment of fees or a formal written response by the board. However, even with informal requests, the fact that access to the record was given or denied should be recorded.

If there is any doubt about whether or not informal access is appropriate, the formal process should be used.