Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), universities are classed as public authorities. Among other things the Act requires the University to produce a public scheme to include as much information about the University as possible. The scheme acts as a guide to the information that the University routinely makes available to the public and the University has had a scheme in place since the introduction of the Act in 2004. It is now taking the opportunity to update that scheme.
The University has adopted the Model Publication Scheme for Higher Education as approved by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)*. The scheme sets out the information the University is required to make available free of charge and is grouped into the seven classes listed below:
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
Most of the information is available free of charge and can be downloaded from the links above.
Information held by the University which is not published under the scheme can be requested by submitting a Freedom of Information (FOI) request via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing to the Office of the University Secretary, Cromore Road, Coleraine BT52 1SA. FOI requests will be formally acknowledged and a due date for response provided.
The information will normally be provided free of charge, unless the resource costs involved in establishing if the information is held and retrieving the information would exceed the appropriate limit set by the Ministry of Justice of £450.
The University does not normally impose a charge for postage, reproducing documents, or for providing the information in the requested format. However, for large requests or where the University has incurred substantial costs the University may decide to charge the applicant. The charge will be no higher than that incurred by the University and will not include staff resource costs. The requester will be informed of any charges in advance.
If a person requires information in an alternative format, owing to a disability, there will be no charge for the cost of providing the information in the alternative format. The University will seek to accommodate the needs of those whose first language is not English.
The FOIA does not require the creation of datasets for publication, nor does it require datasets to be updated if they would not otherwise have been updated as part of the University’s function. In deciding whether to release a dataset, the University will consider any exemptions which may apply and in particular the exemption in section 40 of the FOIA relating to personal data, and the Information Commissioner’s Code of Practice on Anonymization
The University may publish any dataset held that has been requested and any updated versions, in an electronic form that is capable of re-use, unless it is satisfied that it is not appropriate to do so.
If any information in the dataset is a relevant copyright work, and the University is the sole owner of that work, the University will consider making this information available for re-use under an agreed copyright license.
The publication scheme is regularly reviewed and the University welcomes feedback about both the information provided and the access to it. Comments should be directed to the Office of the University Secretary on the contact details above.
*ICO guidance on publication schemes is available at: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-freedom-of-information/publication-scheme/