Freedom of Information Act - Information for staff
However, this does not mean that you are now obliged to give away all the information for which you are asked. You should still not give out information relating to individuals. The University may still not be able to release information for a number of reasons, such as data protection, confidentiality, health and safety or to protect its commercial interests.
- What does the Freedom of Information mean for me?
- When is someone entitled to information?
- How can someone make a request for information?
- University Publication Scheme
- What do I do if someone asks me for information?
- As an individual you are entitled to access information from all sorts of public authorities, including those in Central Government, Local Government, the Police, the NHS and the University.
- As a University employee you need to be aware of the Act and be prepared to act quickly if you receive a request for information. You should also remember that you have a legal duty to help people to find the information they request.
- All University records, including the records you keep and emails or letters that you send, may have to be made available to the public if a request is made.
- A request for information may come in to any part of the University from anywhere in the world.
- The request must be made in writing e.g. a letter, an email or by fax, and the requester must provide their real name.
- The person requesting the information does not need to mention the FOI Act - they only need to ask for the information.
- The person requesting information must give enough information to help the University respond to the request.
- You are not entitled to ask why they want the information - the FOI Act is 'motive blind'.
- The University may be entitled to charge a fee before providing the information requested, depending on the amount of work involved.
- The law says that a request for information must be answered within 20 working days of the request being received. It is important that you act quickly if you receive a request, even if you cannot answer it yourself.
- You have a legal duty to advise and assist someone requesting information.
The easiest way for someone to make an FOI request is to email: email@example.com
Or write to:
Information Rights Officer
As part of its FOI obligations, the University has produced a Publication Scheme. This is a list of specific information the University routinely provides to the public and tells the public how to get the information. It includes information about University committees, polices and procedures.
The University also has staff to assist with Freedom of Information - the Information Rights team in the Office of the University Secretary in Senate House, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How you handle the request depends on the type of request and the nature of your job.
- If you routinely give out certain information to the public, staff and student, continue to give out this information as before. If you have received the request by letter, fax or email make sure that you respond to the request within twenty days.
- If the information is available elsewhere (for example, on the web, in the Publication Scheme, in a journal or book) you should tell the person where to find it.
- If you receive a request for information that is not the sort of information that you already routinely provide, or more complex than usual, or about a sensitive subject, or you are unsure, contact email@example.com.
- If the request is asking for personal information relating to an individual, seek advice from your Department Data Protection Rep.
- If the request is for information that you think is:
- particularly sensitive, complex or confidential, OR
- asking for information about unpublished research OR
- will require a lot of time or expense to provide
please contact the Information Rights Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that the University will regard internal emails as emails about normal business and not treat them as Freedom of Information requests.