Access to documents and insight into statistics and data

How to get insight and access to documents at Sønderborg Municipality.

Sønderborg Municipality wants the greatest possible openness in the municipal administration, and we will therefore to a large extent provide access to more than the law requires. However, we may not provide access to information that is subject to rules on professional secrecy or where disclosure would be contrary to other legislation.  

Who can apply for access to documents and for what?

In the public administration, a principle of openness applies. This means that basically anyone can demand to see all the documents that a municipality possesses in a case. It also covers, for example, maps, films, drawings or extracts of information from our databases as well as descriptions of the types of information that are included in our databases. 

However, access to documents is not without exceptions.

If your request for access to documents concerns your own case, or if you are a party to a case, which means that you are directly affected by a decision that we have made, you have the right to access to documents in accordance with the rules in the Public Administration Act. For example, there may be personal information which you can only gain access to if you are a party to the case and which other eg journalists cannot gain access to.

If you want access to environmental information, there is access to access in accordance with the Environmental Information Act. The law supplements the provisions on access to documents after the Public Access to Information Act og the Public Administration Act.

You can also gain insight into registers. If you apply for insight into all Sønderborg Municipality's registers / treatments about yourself, you can apply for register access via

What information can you not access?

There are certain types of cases where we are not allowed to grant access to documents due to the rules of the Public Access to Information Act. The main exceptions are:

  • Criminal cases and cases of employment and promotion in the public sector
  • Personnel matters
    You can only get information about the employee's name, position, education, work assignments, salary conditions and business trips.

In addition to the above information, for employees in managerial positions, information can only be obtained about disciplinary cases which are less than two years old.

Internal documents
According to the Public Access to Information Act, internal documents are in principle exempt from access to documents. Internal documents are documents that we prepare for our own use and which have not been submitted to outsiders, ie natural or legal persons outside Sønderborg Municipality. For example, it could be:

  • Internal exchange of information within the municipality's administrations
  • Internal exchange of information between the municipal council and its committees, bodies and administrations

In some cases, however, you will be entitled to access to internal documents. These are, for example, internal documents that only contain our final decision in the case or only contain information that is subject to the duty to make notes.

Even in the case of internal documents, you have the right to have access to information on the factual basis of a case to the extent that the information is relevant to the case, if this information does not appear in documents other than the internal ones.

Other special documents may be exempt from access to documents. This could be, for example, our correspondence with a lawyer in connection with lawsuits or documents in connection with agreements on procurement, offers, etc., politicians and public employees' calendars.

In connection with requests for access to documents in calendars, a specific assessment will always be made as to whether there is information that cannot be disclosed because it would be in breach of other legislation or rules on confidentiality.

Confidential information
Some information is exempt from the right of access to documents. This can be information about:

  • Private or financial circumstances of individuals
  • Companies' operating or business conditions and technical facilities

The right of access may also be restricted in other cases, for example if this is necessary to protect the public interest in the public interest or in connection with the conclusion of a public contract.

Other exceptions
Significant considerations for the municipality's interests as well as other public or private interests may, after a specific assessment, mean that access to documents may be limited. This applies, for example:

  • The consideration for carrying out our control or planning tasks
  • Consideration for our business and financial interests
  • Researchers 'and artists' original ideas, preliminary research results and manuscripts
  • Consideration of the kingdom's foreign policy interests
  • Considerations of state security otherwise the defense of the kingdom.

In addition, other documents or information may also be exempted from access to documents if the duty of access to documents is limited by special provisions on professional secrecy under other legislation.

As a rule, you can only gain access to existing documents on the case, and we are thus not obliged to prepare new material, analyzes, statistics, etc. If you request information that can be obtained by compiling existing information in the municipality's databases, access to these so-called “data extracts” must also be granted, if they can be done by a few simple commands.

How do you apply for access to documents?

There are no requirements on how to request access to documents. This can be done by letter, e-mail, telephone or in person.

If you want access to a case or a document, you must contact the area or department in the municipality that has to do with the case in question. If you are a party to an ongoing case, you must contact the relevant case manager or department handling your case.

If you want access to other cases or documents, or if you are unsure where to go, send the request to the City Council Secretariat's e-mail or call tel. +45 88 72 64 00Register insight however, you search via

Your request for document access must contain the information necessary for the case or the documents to which you are seeking document access to be identified. The request can indicate a theme for what access to documents is sought. A theme can be, for example, "cases about snow removal". The more precise you are in your description of what you want access to, the easier and faster we will be able to process your request.

It is not a requirement that you justify your request for access to documents, nor is it necessary to know the record number or designation of the case in which you want access to documents.

If you are a party to a case, you must, however, state which case it is about.

What do I do if I am denied access to the file?

We have the option of refusing the processing of a request for access to documents if the processing of the request will necessitate a disproportionate use of resources. This may be the case if access to documents is requested in many cases or documents, or the request due to the content of the documents and cases will be complicated to process.

We also have the option of rejecting the processing of a request for access to documents if the request must be presumed to serve an unlawful purpose or the like.

If you are denied access to documents or only gain access to part of the material in which you have been requested access to documents, you are entitled to a decision with a justification and appeal instructions. If you disagree with the decision, you have the opportunity to appeal the decision as described in the appeal guide.

If you wish to appeal against a decision on access to documents, you must submit the appeal to the department in Sønderborg Municipality that has made the decision on access to documents. We will then reconsider the decision. If we uphold our decision, we will, within seven working days of receiving the complaint, forward the complaint and the case documents to the appellate body.

In accordance with the Local Government Act, the National Board of Appeal supervises whether Sønderborg Municipality complies with the legislation. However, the Authority can only process a complaint if there is no separate appeal body.

The Parliamentary Ombudsman exercises control over the public administration and ensures, among other things, that Sønderborg Municipality acts legally and in accordance with good administrative practice.

The Parliamentary Ombudsman is not an actual appeal body, but can on his own initiative or due to a complaint investigate a case further.

Also read about appeal options in connection with register access here.

How long is the case processing time for access to documents?

We must respond to your request for access to the file as soon as possible and as far as possible within seven working days of receiving your request. If, exceptionally, your request cannot be processed within seven working days, we will explain to you as soon as possible and before the deadline expires the reason for exceeding the deadline and when you can expect to receive the final decision.

If we have not completed your request for access to documents within 14 days of receipt, you have the opportunity to complain separately about the case processing time.

A complaint about the case processing time must be sent to us. If we have not processed your request for access to documents within seven working days of receipt of the complaint, we must forward the complaint to the appellate body with a justification for the case processing time.

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Contact us

City Council Secretariat and Law
Rådhustorvet 10
6400 Sønderborg