Guidance on Publication Schemes
In implementing the Freedom of Information Act 2000 Bassetlaw District Council promotes an understanding of the work undertaken within the Council to foster a spirit of trust with the public and other organisations. We achieve this by promoting transparency in the way we make our decisions and by providing clear information about our policies and processes through our publication scheme. We deal with individual requests for information courteously and promptly and provide advice and assistance if necessary.
What is Freedom of Information?
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities. It lists exemptions from that right and places a number of obligations on public authorities.
The Act came into force in two stages:
- The first stage was in February 2003 when the Council adopted a Publication Scheme.
- The second stage came into force in January 2005. Any person now making a request to a public authority for information must be informed whether the public authority holds that information and supplied with that information. This is subject to a number of exemptions listed in the Act.
What is a publication scheme?
A Publication Scheme is a guide to the classes of information that the Council publishes or intends to publish routinely. The term “published” is broad and is not limited to information produced in paper forms. As far as the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is concerned, information made publicly available has been published. Therefore, information on the Council’s website is as much part of the Publication Scheme as printed documents.
What are classes of information?
A requirement of the Act is to specify “classes” of information that the Council will publish within its Publication Scheme.
The Information Commissioner has issued a ‘Model Publication Scheme’ and the Council adopted the ‘Model Scheme’.
The information covered by the Model Scheme is included in the 7 classes of information listed below, where this information is held by the authority:
- Who we are and what we do
- What we spend and how we spend it
- What our priorities are and how we are doing
- How we make decisions
- Our policies and procedures
- Lists and registers
- The services we offer
Examples of the type of information available are given below under the Guidance to Information.
By adopting the Information Commissioner’s ‘Model Scheme’ the Council is committed to the following:
- To proactively publish information (including environmental information which is held by it and contained within each class)
- To provide a means by which the Council can ensure the public are aware of the sorts of information the Council has committed to make readily available, how they can access it and whether they will have to pay for it.
- To review and update the information on a regular basis.
How will I request additional information not covered by this scheme?
The Council includes as much information in the Publication Scheme as it can however, if you cannot find what you are looking for you can make a request for the information.
The Act is retrospective and information requests can be for information created before the Act came fully in to force in 2005. However, where any of the information comes within an exempt category either under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or other relevant legislation, it will be published with the exempt material deleted.
Will I be charged for information?
Material which is published and accessed on the website can be downloaded free of charge. Some information may only be available in hard copy and some information will only be available for inspection. Charges may be made for information subject to a legal charging regime. Charges under the publication scheme may be made for actual disbursements such as:
- Postage and packaging
- The cost directly incurred as a result of viewing information
Any charges will be in accordance with the Council’s fees and charging guidance.
Who do I contact?
For information concerning the scheme you can contact us.
Making a complaint, suggestion or compliment
If you are not satisfied with the Council’s response to a request for information you may make a complaint to the address below:
If after going through the Council’s formal complaint and appeals system you are still not satisfied then the Freedom of Information Act 2000 makes provision for you to complain directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office:
- Address: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF
- Website: Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
Reviewing and maintaining the scheme
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 states that a publication scheme should be reviewed from time to time. The Council is responsible for reviewing and maintaining this guide to information and the data it contains. Material will be updated and any outdated information will be removed. This guide and operation of the scheme will be reviewed annually in accordance with the legislation.
Reproducing material supplied under this Publication Scheme without the express permission of the Council may be an infringement of copyright. Requests for permission should be addressed to the Council Solicitor at the address detailed above.
Guidance to information
The Council’s A–Z web pages provide a guide to the information available; there is also a search facility to assist you to find other information that may not be included in the A-Z.
The guidance below is intended to assist you by giving some examples of the type of information the Council routinely makes available.
Where a document is indicated as available within this guidance it will be the current version.
The classes of information detailed below will not generally include:
- Information the disclosure of which is prevented by law, or exempt under the Freedom of Information Act, or is otherwise properly considered to be protected from disclosure.
- Information in draft form.
- Information that is no longer readily available as it is contained in files that have been placed in archive storage, or is difficult to access for similar reasons.
- Information that is not held by the Council.