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Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act gives right of access to all types of information held by public authorities.

Edge Hill University is registered as a Data Controller with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as required by law. The registration number is Z5265461.

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act came fully into force from 1 January 2005. It gives the public a right of access to information held by public authorities. The Act promotes greater openness and accountability across the public sector by requiring all public authorities to make information available proactively, through a publication scheme.

Should you wish to make a request, you can do so by completing the contact form or via email. It is important you state all information you require in order for us to respond to your request as quickly as possible.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Disclosure Logs

Read more with our FOIA Disclosure Logs

The Act sets out a number of exemptions to the right of access information. Should an exemption apply to your request, the University will explain the reasons for the information being withheld. The University is required to provide you with a response within 20 working days upon receipt of the request.

Freedom of Information Act Policy

Protection of Freedoms Act

Impact on Freedom of Information Law

The Protection of Freedoms Act came into force on 1 May 2012. Among its many implications are those for the Freedom of Information Act 2000 Part 6 of the Act covers the Freedom of Information (FOI) and Data Protection (DP) changes.

Public authorities will be obliged to publish datasets disclosed in response to FOI requests in their publication schemes unless they are satisfied that it is not appropriate. They will also have to publish updated versions when they change.

Section 102 amends section 11 of FOI
A new section 11A
And section 11B
Section 45
Section 103
Section 104
Section 105
Section 107

In summary:

  • Public authorities are obliged to make datasets available in a re-usable format on request.
  • Re-use will be allowed under the terms of licence(s) to be announced, and charging will probably be allowed in line with existing or new regulations.
  • Disclosed datasets will normally have to be published (and kept up-to-date) under an authority’s publication scheme.
  • Publicly-owned companies owned by more than one public authority will no longer escape FOI.
  • Information Commissioners will serve only one seven year term.
  • Expect the Information Commissioner’s Office to start charging for training and conferences.

Key changes to FOIA

  • Extending the regime to cover subsidiary companies even if not wholly owned by a single public authority – a significant gap in the original legislation.
  • Imposing an obligation on public authorities to disclose datasets in a reusable format. The definition of dataset is likely to capture research data pre analysis, which is understandably causing concern and is currently the topic of heated debate in the House of Lords.

The Bill will extend FOIA to more bodies and will increase the obligations on all bodies covered by FOIA. In the context of the wider Government changes proposed for transparency and Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO”) consultations, the impact of the changes on the majority of education institutions which are public authorities for the purposes of FOIA will be potentially complex and onerous. They will affect not only those institutions but also those working with them.

Release and use of Dataset: New rules from 1 September 2013

From 1 September 2013 public authorities will face new obligations when it comes to the release and re-use of datasets.

  • There will be a new duty on public authorities, when releasing datasets, to adhere to any request to do so in electronic form which allows their re-use where reasonably practicable.
  • Any dataset containing copyright material (where the authority holds the copyright) must be made available for re-use under a specified licence.
  • Publication schemes will, in future, contain a requirement to publish datasets, which have been requested, as well as any updated versions.
  • Such datasets will also have to be published in an electronic form capable of re use and any copyright material must be available for re use in accordance with the terms of a specified licence.
  • Public authorities will be able to charge a fee for allowing re use of any datasets containing copyright material.

Freedom of Information requests

The Freedom of Information Act came into full force on 1 January 2005. It provides a statutory right to information held by public authorities. The Act gives individuals and companies from anywhere in the world, the right of access to all types of ‘recorded’ information which is held by public authorities. For the purpose of the Act, Edge Hill University has been designated a public authority.

If you are unable to find the information you require from our website or publication scheme, a request can be made, providing you name and address and detailing the information requested, to:

Information Governance Office
Strategic Planning and Policy Unit
Edge Hill University
St Helens Road
L39 4QP

Under the Freedom of Information Act a public authority is required to provide the information requested within twenty working days. However it may be necessary to go back to the enquirer for clarification on what information is being requested. In these cases, the twenty day period may be extended.

Requesting personal information

Under the Data Protection Act, individuals have the right to submit a Subject Access Request if it is believed that personal data relating to them is being processed by the University. Individuals wishing to make a request for personal information held by the University under the Data Protection Act can do so by sending a completed Subject Access Request Form to:

Information Governance Office
Strategic Planning and Policy Unit
Edge Hill University
St Helens Road
L39 4QP

Subject access requests made in other formats will also be accepted. This subject access request form is designed to speed up the process.

Exemption Policy

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, there are two categories of exempt information.

  1. Absolute exemptions do not require the University to consider disclosure in the public interest, nor is it required to state whether or not the information in question is held.
  2. Non-absolute exemptions do require the University to consider the public interest in confirming or denying that the information exists and in disclosing information.

Where the University is claiming an exemption under the Act, it will inform you of the specific exemption which is being claimed and why it applies, and will aim to do so within twenty working days of the request being received.

Edge Hill University will not publish the following information unless there is a legal obligation to do so:

  • Any information on individual students, without their permission.
  • Any information on staff without their permission, other than that set down in our Publication Scheme.
  • Information that might threaten the health or safety of staff, students or the public.
  • Information that may threaten the commercial interests of the University.
  • Information that is intended for eventual publication.
  • Information on current legal proceedings.
  • Information whose publication is forbidden by law or by a court order.
  • Information of a genuinely confidential nature or covered by a claim of professional legal privilege.
  • Information that would prejudice the prevention or detection of crime or the prosecution of offenders.
  • Information relating to investigations being carried out by the University that may lead to criminal or civil proceedings.

Request review procedure

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our disclosure of information, please write to:

Dr Craig Hutchinson-Howorth
Director of Strategic Planning
Edge Hill University
St Helens Road
L39 4QP

The University will acknowledge your complaint within 7 working days and endeavour to respond to your complaint within twenty working days of the acknowledgement.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply direct to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

The Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Cheshire SK9 5AF

Should the Commissioner decide your complaint is valid, he will serve a decision notice to the University. More information can be found on the Information Commissioner’s website.

Information Commissioner complaints process