Frequently asked questions - for staff
If you have any questions relating to the Freedom of Information Act
2000 or handling freedom of information requests please contact James
Button, the Freedom of Information Officer (extn. 3225).
How do people access information?
There are two ways people can access information held by the University
using the Freedom of Information Act. The first is via the Publication
Scheme which lists the types of information the University makes available
to the public as a matter of routine e.g. prospectuses, the Library and
Learning Centre catalogue and the minutes of some committees. The second
is by making a request.
Is there any information which the University does not have to make
The Freedom of Information Act outlines some types of information which
are exempt from disclosure. Generally the University is not required to
- Information about living individuals the processing
of which is covered by the Data Protection Act 1998.
- Information that might jeopardize the health
and safety of staff, students or the public.
- Information that might prejudice the University's
- Information that would prejudice the prevention
or detection of crime or the prosecution of offenders.
- Information concerning legal proceedings or investigations
being carried out by the University that might lead to criminal or civil
- Information held under obligation of confidentiality.
- Information that is published elsewhere or that
is intended for publication at a later date (e.g. draft versions of
documents, information subject to amendment or approval by the appropriate
The application of the exemptions set out in the Act is complex, so you
should not attempt to use them yourself. If you receive any request
for information that you cannot deal with straightforwardly, contact the
Freedom of Information Officer
What is the difference between data protection and freedom of information?
The Data Protection Act 1998 regulates the way that the University collects,
processes and discloses information about living individuals. All enquiries
relating to personal information should be directed to the University
Data Protection Officer. Access to all other types of information
created and held within the University is governed by the Freedom of Information
Act 2000. All enquiries regarding access to information, other than personal
information, should be directed to the Freedom
of Information Officer.
Does the Act have implications for servicing meetings of University
Most of the University's statutory bodies and principal committees are
included in the University Publication Scheme. This generally means that
details of membership, terms of reference, and minutes of meetings are
published on the University website as a matter of routine. Business items
not suitable for routine publication are identified as such in the agenda.
Most committees at faculty and departmental level are not included in
the Publication Scheme. However, if the University received a request
for information contained in the minutes of a committee not included in
the Publication Scheme, the information would have to be disclosed, subject
to the exemptions outlined in the Act. If you are responsible for servicing
meetings of a formal University committee it is useful to remember that
it may be necessary to make the information public at some point in the
future. For more advice contact Colette
Milner, Head of Secretariat, Office of the University Secretary (extn.
How does the Act affect what I publish on the University web pages?
The purpose of the Act is to promote greater openness and accountability
across the public sector. The University makes a huge amount of information
available to the public via its website during the course of its normal
business, but there may be some occasions when it is not appropriate to
publish information to a world-wide audience. If you have any queries
about the types of information you publish on University web pages please
contact the Freedom of Information