Students Staff

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 was brought in to bring about a culture of openness in the public sector. It gives everyone the right to ask for information held by public authorities, which includes Universities. Information in all formats and of all ages is covered by the Act. There are some exemptions allowed, which means under certain limited circumstances the university can refuse to release information it is asked for. The fact that information might be potentially embarrassing for the university, or department or individuals in it, is not a valid exemption.

  • You cannot ask to see data about yourself under the Freedom of Information Act - you must use the Data Protection Act.
  • You cannot ask to see personal data about other people under the Freedom of Information Act.
  • When you ask us for information we have 20 days to reply.

The University has a Publications Scheme that covers the basic areas set out in the Information Commissioner's Model Publications Scheme. There is more information about the University throughout the website.

Who is responsible for ensuring the University is compliant with the Act?

The Information Assurance Manager co-ordinates the University's approach to compliance and is always available to provide advice and information. However, all University staff handling and dealing with any information relating to any University activity are responsible for ensure it is done so in accordance with the law. It is important to follow the University's records management policies to ensure records are retained and disposed of correctly.

Under the Act, it is a criminal offence for anyone to tamper with or destroy existing documents that are existing records that have been requested for disclosure. This offence is covered by personal liability, so if an individual is caught tampering with such documents, it's that person who will face prosecution, not the University.

Who responds to request for information and how?

Day to day questions that are part of the university's ordinary business can be answered in the usual way. So, prospectuses can be sent out, job application queries answered and so on.

Anything out of the ordinary needs to be treated as an Freedom of Information request. Please forward these to the Information Assurance Manager as soon as possible: we only have 20 days to reply and the clock starts ticking as soon as the request arrives in the University.

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