Books stacked on a table

Introduction

Legal requirement

1. Adopting a publication scheme is a requirement of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This Act promotes greater openness and accountability across the public sector by requiring all "public authorities" to make information available proactively, through a publication scheme.

2. "Public authorities" are defined in the Act and include universities, further education colleges and sixth form colleges.

What is a publication scheme?

3. A publication scheme is a document which describes the information a public authority publishes, or intends to publish. In this context, "publish" means to make information available, routinely. These descriptions are called "classes of information". The scheme is not a list of the actual publications, because this will change as new material is published or existing material revised. It is, however, the public authority's commitment to make available the information described.

4. A publication scheme must set out the classes, or categories, of information published. It must also make clear how the information described can be accessed and whether or not charges will be made.

The "model" Publication Scheme for Higher Education

5. Imperial College has adopted the model Publication Scheme developed for the Higher Education sector by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and is therefore committed to publishing the information it describes. This includes the following classes of information as set out in the Scheme:

  • 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

Accessing information covered by the Publication Scheme

6. Next to each class of information we publish we have indicated the format in which the information described will be available. We have also indicated whether charges apply to material in each class.

7. To request information available through our publication scheme, please contact:

Freedom of Information Officer
Level 4, Faculty Building
Imperial College London
South Kensington Campus
London
SW7 2AZ

E-mail: Freedom of Information Office

8. Please note that a publication scheme relates to "published" information. Therefore, material covered has already been prepared in a format ready for distribution.

9. Information will not be published as part of the Publication Scheme if:

the College does not hold the information;
the information is exempt under one of the Freedom of Information exemptions or Environmental Information Regulation exceptions, or if its release is prohibited under another statute;
the information is archived, out of date or otherwise inaccurate; or
it would be impractical or resource-intensive to prepare the material for routine release.

What about information not covered by the Publication Scheme?

10. You have the right, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, to request any information held by a public authority, which it has not already made available through its publication scheme.

11. Requests have to be made in writing and, in general, the College has 20 working days to respond. We may charge a fee, which will have to be calculated according to Fees Regulations. We are not required to release information to which an exemption in the Act legitimately applies. For further information about see Imperial's Freedom of Information site.

Feedback

12. It is important that this publication scheme meets your needs. If you find the scheme difficult to understand, please let us know. We also welcome suggestions as to how our scheme might be improved. Any questions, comments or complaints about this scheme or requests for information should be sent in writing to the Freedom of Information Officer below:

Freedom of Information Officer
Level 4, Faculty Building
Imperial College London
South Kensington Campus
London
SW7 2AZ

E-mail: Freedom of Information Office

13. If we are unable to resolve any complaint, you can complain to the Information Commissioner, the independent body who oversees the Freedom of Information Act:

Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Further Information

20. More information about the Freedom of Information Act is available on the Information Commissioner's website.

Please note that Scotland has its own Freedom of Information Act and Information Commissioner. For more information, please see the Scottish Executive's website.