Students Staff

Freedom of Information Publication Scheme explanatory notes

Freedom of Information Publication Scheme explanatory notes

1. Legal requirement

  • Adopting a publication scheme is a requirement of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This Act promotes greater openness and accountability across the public sector by requiring all 'public authorities' to make information available proactively through a publication scheme.
  • 'Public authorities' are defined in the Act and include universities, further education colleges and sixth form colleges.

2. What is a Publication Scheme?

  • A Publication Scheme is a guide to the specific information held by public authorities. The information is split into seven "classes". The University is committed to reviewing and updating its information guide on a regular basis.

3. The model Publication Scheme for Universities

  • The University of Essex has adopted the Model Publication Scheme 2009 developed for Universities and is therefore committed to publishing the information it describes.
  • 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.

There is more information about model publication schemes on the Information Commissioner's website.

4. Who we are

The University of Essex, based at Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, received its Royal Charter in 1965. It is one of the UK's leading academic institutions and has an international reputation for the quality of its research and teaching. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, we ranked top 20 in the UK for research excellence. (REF 2014) The University has academic faculties and departments spanning the Humanities, Social Sciences and Science and Engineering.

There are currently more than 11,000 students at the University,  including over 3,000 postgraduates. The University is an international community with students from more than 130 countries.

The close knit Colchester campus has shops, banks and restaurants and the University is able to offer accommodation to a high proportion of its students. As part of its excellent range of sporting and leisure facilities - all on the campus - the University boasts four squash courts, fitness gym, climbing wall and an eighteen-hole frisbee golf course. The arts are also well catered for at Essex - there is a University Theatre, an Exhibition Gallery, and an extensive programme of musical and dramatic events.

The University's links with industry are co-ordinated by the Research and Enterprise Office, which provides services covering:

Technology Auditing: Research activities of individual departments are audited to help pinpoint and develop ideas with commercial potential;

Intellectual Property Rights: All University patents are held within and exploited by Wivenhoe Technology Limited, a University owned company; and

Links with Industry: Links are continuously being made with industry to secure funding for research and student sponsorship, and to introduce University inventions to the commercial market.

As a public authority, the University has responsibility for publishing and maintaining its own Publication Scheme, as well as those relating to its wholly-owned subsidiaries:

5. Accessing information covered by the Publication Scheme

  • The classes of information we publish are described in the main part of the scheme.
  • Next to each class we have indicated a description of the class, the format in which it is available, and whether charges apply to material in each class.
  • To request information available through our Publication Scheme, please contact Sara Stock (University Records Manager)

6. What about information not covered by the Publication Scheme?

  • You have the right under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to request any information held by a public authority which it has not already made available through its Publication Scheme.
  • Requests have to be made in writing (which includes email) and, in general, public authorities have 20 working days to respond. They may charge a fee, which will have to be calculated according to Fees Regulations. They are not required to release information to which an exemption in the Act legitimately applies. However, public authorities may be required to explain to the applicant why they are not releasing information and they may also have to justify this to the Information Commissioner.

If you would like to ask for information not covered in our scheme please contact the Governance office.

7. Feedback

  • It is important that this Publication Scheme meets your s needs. If you find the Scheme difficult to understand, please let us know. We also welcome suggestions as to how our Scheme might be improved.  Any questions, comments or complaints about this Scheme should be sent in writing to the Information Assurance Manager.
  • If we are unable to resolve any complaint, you can complain to the Information Commissioner, the independent body who oversees the Freedom of Information Act:

Contact Details

Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

8. Further information

More information about the Freedom of Information Act is available on the Information Commissioner's website.