UCL Publication Scheme - introduction

UCL maintains a Publication Scheme, listing the classes of information and the documents that it routinely publishes or intends to publish. The Publication Scheme is on UCL’s website and hard copies of documents can be obtained from Legal Services or from relevant departments. The Scheme will be reviewed annually.

The ICO is the independent regulatory authority for the Act, and the avenue of appeal for requests that have not been resolved to the applicant's satisfaction.

Role and responsibility for this Publication Scheme

UCL’s Provost and Council have overall responsibility for Freedom of Information in UCL. Operational responsibility is delegated to the Freedom of Information Officer.

Access and handling of requests 

The Freedom of Information Officer is responsible for the processing and monitoring of Freedom of Information requests.

Exemptions

There are 23 exemptions from the right of access. Some are designated ‘absolute’, meaning that if an absolute exemption applies, the duty to provide the information does not apply. Most are known as ‘qualified’ exemptions and require a public interest test to be applied, to decide whether the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing it.

Where an exemption is deemed to apply to some or all of the information requested, the applicant will be notified in writing. The relevant exemption will be cited and any information that is not exempt will be provided.

Since the Act contains a presumption in favour of disclosure, in cases where there is equal weight between withholding information and disclosing it, the information will be disclosed.

In determining whether disclosure would be likely to prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs (Section 36 of the Act), and the balance of the public interest, the designated Qualified Person will decide. In UCL this is the Provost.

If legal opinion is thought to be necessary, it will be sought by the Freedom of Information Officer.

Fees

UCL will follow the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004. Accordingly, all requests that cost less than £450 to process (the ‘appropriate limit’) will be complied with free of charge.

Complaints 

Any written reply from the applicant expressing dissatisfaction with UCL’s response to a request will be treated as a complaint, whether or not the applicant has expressly stated a wish to have the decision reviewed. This includes appeals against decisions to withhold information. The Vice Provost (Operations) is responsible for handling complaints. A response will be provided within 20 working days.

Complaints received more than two months after the initial decision will not be considered.

If dissatisfied with the outcome of the review, the applicant may seek a review by the Information Commissioner, who has powers to uphold or overturn the decision. UCL will abide by the decisions of the Information Commissioner’s Office, unless it considers itself to have grounds for an appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights).

Copyright 

You are free to use any information supplied for your own use, including for non-commercial research purposes. The information may also be used for the purposes of news reporting. However, any other type of re-use, for example by publishing or issuing copies to the public, will require the permission of the copyright owner.

Page last modified on 11 jun 14 14:52