The purpose of the Freedom of Information Act (commonly known as FOIA or the Act) is to ensure that all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government, and the official acts and policies of those who represent them as public officials.
The principle mandate of the Act provides that each public body shall make available to any person for inspection, or upon submission of a written request, to provide copies of any requested records that are subject to disclosure under the Act. Not all records are subject to disclosure; the Act provides a number of exemptions.
This Act is not intended to be used to violate individual privacy, nor for the purpose of furthering a commercial enterprise, or to disrupt the duly-undertaken work of any public body independent of the fulfillment of any of the rights of the people to access to information (5 ILCS/140/1). The Act does not require the County to create new records or to answer questions other than through the production of records.
Pursuant to 5 ILCS/140/2(c), a public record is any records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, electronic communications, recorded information, and all other documentary materials pertaining to the transaction of public business, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared by or for, or having been or being used by, received by, in the possession of or under the control of any public body.