The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), passed on 30 November 2000, created a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by English, Welsh and Northern Irish public authorities. It also sets out exemptions from that right and places a number of obligations on public authorities.
The FOIA is intended to promote a culture of openness and accountability amongst public authorities and to facilitate better public understanding of how public authorities carry out their duties, why they make the decisions they do and how they spend public money.
Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, all public authorities are required to adopt and maintain a publication scheme. The publication scheme helps to promote greater openness and accountability across the public sector.
In line with section 20 of the FOI Act, the Information Commissioner has approved a new model publication scheme which all public authorities are required to adopt and will be effective from 1 January 2009.
The Purpose of a Publication Scheme
A publication scheme sets out the kinds of information that a public authority should make routinely available. The information should be easy for the authority and any individual to find and use.
Public authorities must adopt a publication scheme approved by the Information Commissioner. To reduce duplication and bureaucracy and to ensure consistency in the release of information, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has developed a model publication scheme that any public authority can use. The Scheme sets out details of classes of information the University will routinely make available to anyone who consults it, how the information will be published, how the information can be obtained and whether any charge will be made for this information.
The Publication Scheme
The publication scheme classifies information at a high level through the Definition Document which has been developed for each public authority sector. Newman University has used the Definition Document designed for Universities and Higher Education Institutions, approved by the Office for the Information Commissioner. This model is designed for Universities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The purpose of the model is to save institutions duplicating effort in producing individual schemes and to assist the public in accessing information from across the sector. However, to reflect the diversity in size and function of institution, a number of optional classes of information are included. As a result, models within the sector will vary slightly.
The Publication Scheme adopted by the Newman University lists the classes of information that we publish (make routinely available), or that we intend to publish, and states whether the information is available online or in paper form. Where possible, the correct link for each publication has been given. The Scheme is not necessarily a list of actual publications, as this will change as new material is published or new material revised. It is, however, the Newman University’s commitment to abide with the spirit of the Act and make publicly available the information described.
Newman University publishes information on its website. By entering a query into the search engine or by using the navigation buttons on the University’s Homepage you should be able to find the information which you are looking for. Other information in this scheme may not be available from the Newman University website – this may be because you need to apply to another public authority for the data (in which case a URL web link will be provided) or the data may only be available when requested in writing. The information listed will be free of charge unless otherwise stated.
Please note that a publication scheme relates to ‘published’ information. That is, material which has already been prepared in a format ready for distribution. Routinely published information should be available as part of an authority’s normal business. Therefore the information should be easy to access through a website or be easily and quickly sent out by a member of the authority’s staff.
There are seven main groups (and classes within them) that form the model publication scheme. They are in logical order and no one single section has a higher status than another. The types of information and documents listed within the classes are examples only and are not mandatory.
The Information Classes are: