Freedom of Information Act 2000
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 ("the Act") gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities.
The intention of the Act is to promote a greater degree of openness amongst public authorities by providing people with rights of access to information held by public authorities, in two ways:
- Firstly, all Public Authorities must make some standard information about themselves available to people through a Publication Scheme (section 19 of the Act), and;
- Secondly, since January 2005, people have had the right to make a request for any information held by a Public Authority (whether or not it is included in a publication scheme) and, subject to a number of exemptions relating to tests of public interest, the Public Authority must comply with the Act in responding to the request.
A significant exemption from the requirement to provide information is that relating to personal data. Personal data that relates to any individual is exempt from disclosure under the Act, as the right of access can be properly exercised under the Data Protection Act.
A Public Authority is loosely defined as a public body which exercises public functions. Under the Act, all educational institutions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (except nursery schools) are classed as public authorities and therefore the Act applies to this University.
The Act does not apply to Scotland which has its own Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
More information on the Freedom of Information Act is available either through these webpages or by contacting the University's Information Disclosure Officer, Samantha Hill. For contact details, click here.