Freedom of Information Act 2000

Please contact Laura Harrison for further information. Tel: 01782 734633.

Guide to the Freedom of Information Act 2000

Introduction

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 came into full force on 1st January 2005. It provides a statutory right to information held by public authorities in an aim to increase openness and accountability across the public sector. As far as possible, the University will attempt to meet requests for access to information through its normal administrative procedures so that formal applications under the Act will not normally be necessary. Requests must be responded to within 20 working days of receipt.

Freedom of Information Policy

The University approved a revised Freedom of Information Policy in June 2011 to support the Universities compliance with the legislation. All members of University staff must abide by the policy and should follow the Procedures for University Staff outlined below when doing so.

Making Information Available

Every public authority must have a Publication Scheme. This is a guide to all the information that is routinely published, how the information is made available (much of it is freely available on-line) and whether there is a fee for the information.

How to Request Information

Requests for information should be directed in the first instance to the relevant organisational unit or officer for processing in accordance with normal administrative procedures.

Formal applications under the provisions of the Act should be made in writing (letter, email or fax) providing the name of the applicant, address for correspondence and a description of the information requested and sent to:

Governance
Planning and Academic Administration
Keele University
Staffordshire
ST5 5BG

If you would like to request information, please feel free to download the FOI Request Form.  You are under no obligation to use the form, but it may prove useful in helping you compose your request. If you require the information that you request to be supplied in a special format, please state this in your application.

Requests for personal information continue to fall within the remit of the Data Protection Act 1998 and should be directed to Governance Officer.

 

Exemptions

The Act sets out 23 exemptions where the right to access information is prohibited, for example, data protection, commercial interests or that the information is already accessible by another means. If this is the case, you will receive an explanation quoting the relevant exemption and an explanation of your rights of appeal to the Information Commissioner.

Fees Guidance

A limit of £450 has been set under which information will be provided without charging a fee, although disbursements may be reclaimed. This is deemed to equate to 2 ½ days work. Disbursements may, for example, include the cost of reproducing the material and postage.

The University is not obliged to provide information where it would cost more than £450 to provide it, although it may decide to do so and charge appropriately. A Fees Notice would be issued to inform the applicant of the cost and the 20 working days time limit to respond would not begin until the fee has been received by the University.

Procedures for University Staff

Date stamp or note the date of receipt if you are the first person to receive the request, even if you are not the person who will deal with the request.

If the request is not for you, you must pass the request on to the relevant person immediately to ensure that the time limit (20 working days) can be complied with. If you are not sure who will have the information, please contact Governance.

For routinely published information, refer the requestor to the online Publication Scheme.

Requests for personal information should be dealt with under the terms of the Data Protection Act and directed to Governance.

If the information requested is unclear, seek clarification and once this has been received, the 20 working days to respond will begin.

If you think that the information requested is sensitive or one of the exemptions may apply, please contact Governance for guidance. If you think that it will take longer than 2 ½ days to deal with the request, please contact Governance for guidance.

A FOI Request Tracking Form can be downloaded to assist the process of dealing with requests.

 

Complaints & Appeals

If you have been unsuccessful in your request for information, you may submit a complaint to the Secretary to Council in writing, within 28 days of receiving formal notification that you are not entitled to the information you have requested.

Once internal routes have been exhausted, the applicant may appeal to the Office of the Information Commissioner (ICO). The ICO will make a ruling and if either party are not happy they can appeal to the Information Tribunal. If either party are still not happy they can appeal to the High Court. The whole of the appeals process is free of charge.

A copy of the FOI Complaints Procedure can be downloaded.

Further Information

Further information and guidance on the of Information Act 2000 can be obtained from Governance by emailing foi@keele.ac.uk

Contact details for the Information Commissioner are:

http://www.ico.gov.uk

The Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow 
Cheshire 
SK9 5AF 
Telephone: 01625 545745