Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act came into force at the beginning of 2005 and encourages greater openness and transparency across the whole public sector.  The Act provides individuals or organisations with the right to request information held by a public authority. The Act obliges every public authority to adopt an approved Publication Scheme.  The intention of this is to require authorities to make certain kinds of information routinely available to the public. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has produced a new model publication scheme that all public sector organisations must adopt from January 2009.   The Ansty and Staplefield Parish Council Publication Scheme is based on this model and can be viewed by clicking on the link.

Ansty and Staplefield Parish Council Publication Scheme

Information available from Ansty and Staplefield Parish Council under the model publication scheme

INTRODUCTION

The Freedom of Information Act
The Freedom of Information Act grants to members of the public rights of access to all kinds of recorded information held by a wide range of public authorities. Information about the Act is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office at http://www.ico.gov.uk/
Publication Scheme
The Act requires every public authority to adopt and maintain a generic model publication scheme which should be adopted and operated by all public authorities from  January 2009. Ansty and Staplefield Parish Council adopted the generic model publication scheme at their Council meeting on 19th January 2009. It is intended to provide everyone interested in the Council with a comprehensive guide to the information that the Council will automatically or routinely publish or otherwise makes available to the public.
Freedom of Information Requests and the Publication Scheme
It is important to note that a publication scheme simply sets out the information that is routinely available. Information that is not listed in the Information Available Guide of this document can still be requested and it will be made available unless it can be legitimately withheld. This can be done by making a written request to the Clerk who will reply within 20 working days after receipt of the request.
The Council’s Commitment to the Act
The Council is committed to openness and accountability and already makes information available to the public, through its website, via the telephone, or by post.

MODEL PUBLICATION SCHEME
This model publication scheme has been prepared and approved by the Information Commissioner. It may be adopted without modification by any public authority without further approval and will be valid until further notice. This publication scheme commits an authority to make information available to the public as part of its normal business activities. The information covered is included in the classes of information mentioned below, where this information is held by the authority. Additional assistance is provided to the definition of these classes in sector specific guidance manuals issued by the Information Commissioner.

The scheme commits an authority:

  •  To proactively publish or otherwise make available as a matter of routine, information, including environmental information, which is held by the authority and falls within the classifications below.
  • To specify the information which is held by the authority and falls within the classifications below.
  • To proactively publish or otherwise make available as a matter of routine, information in line with the statements contained within this scheme. 
  • To produce and publish the methods by which the specific information is made routinely available so that it can be easily identified and accessed by members of the public.
  • To review and update on a regular basis the information the authority makes available under this scheme.
  • To produce a schedule of any fees charged for access to information which is made proactively available.
  • To make this publication scheme available to the public.

Classes of Information

  • Who we are and what we do.
    Organisational information, locations and contacts, constitutional and legal governance.
  • What we spend and how we spend it.Financial information relating to projected and actual
    income and expenditure, tendering, procurement and contracts.
  • What our priorities are and how we are doing.
    Strategy and performance information, plans, assessments, inspections and reviews.
  • How we make decisions.
    Policy proposals and decisions. Decision making processes, internal criteria and procedures,
    consultations
  • Our policies and procedures.
    Current written protocols for delivering our functions and responsibilities.
  • Lists and Registers.
    Information held in registers required by law and other lists and registers relating to the functions
    of the authority.
  • The Services we Offer.
    Advice and guidance, booklets and leaflets, transactions and media releases. A description of the services offered.

The classes of information will not generally include:

  • Information the disclosure of which is prevented by law, or exempt under the Freedom of Information Act, or is otherwise properly considered to be protected from disclosure.
  • Information in draft form.
  • Information that is no longer readily available as it is contained in files that have been placed in archive storage, or is difficult to access for similar reasons.
  • The method by which information published under this scheme will be made available
  • The authority will indicate clearly to the public what information is covered by this scheme and how it can be obtained.
  • Where it is within the capability of a public authority, information will be provided on a website. Where it is impracticable to make information available on a website or when an individual does not wish to access the information by the website, a public authority will indicate how information can be obtained by other means and provide it by those means.details will be provided. An appointment to view the information will be arranged within a reasonable timescale.
  • Information will be provided in the language in which it is held or in such other language that is legally required. Where an authority is legally required to translate any information, it will do so.
  • Obligations under disability and discrimination legislation and any other legislation to provide information in other forms and formats will be adhered to when providing information in accordance with this scheme.
  • Charges which may be made for Information published under this scheme
  • The purpose of this scheme is to make the maximum amount of information readily available at minimum inconvenience and cost to the public. Charges made by the authority for routinely published material will be justified and transparent and kept to a minimum.
  • Material which is published and accessed on a website will be provided free of charge.
  • Charges may be made for information subject to a charging regime specified by Parliament.
  • Charges may be made for actual disbursements incurred such as:
    • photocopying
    • postage and packaging
    • the costs directly incurred as a result of viewing information.
    • Charges may also be made for information provided under this scheme where they are legally authorised, they are in all the circumstances, including the general principles of the right of access to information held by public authorities, justified and are in accordance with a published schedule or schedules of fees which is readily available to the public.
    • If a charge is to be made, confirmation of the payment due will be given before the information is provided. Payment may be requested prior to the provision of information.

Written Requests

Information held be a public authority that is not published under this scheme can be requested in writing, when its provision will be considered in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

Information to be published

How the information can be obtained

Cost

Class1 - Who we are and what we do
(Organisational information, structures, locations and contacts)
This will be current information only 

 

 

Who’s who on the Council and its Committees

hard copy
website

6p per sheet
Free

Contact details for Parish Clerk and Council members

As above

As above

Location of main Council office

As above

As above

Staffing structure

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Class 2 – What we spend and how we spend it
(Financial information relating to projected and actual income and expenditure, procurement, contracts and financial audit)
Current and previous financial year as a minimum

Annual return form and report by auditor

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Finalised budget

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Precept

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Borrowing Approval letter

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Financial Standing Orders and Regulations

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Grants given and received

Hard copy

6p per sheet

List of current contracts awarded and value of contract

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Members’ allowances and expenses

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Class 3 – What our priorities are and how we are doing
(Strategies and plans, performance indicators, audits, inspections and reviews)

 

 

Parish Plan

Website
Hard copy

Free
6p per sheet

Annual Report to Parish or Community Meeting (current and previous year as a minimum)

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Quality status

Not applicable

Local charters with MSDC and WSCC

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Class 4 – How we make decisions
Decision making processes

Timetable of meetings

hard copy
website

6p per sheet
Free

Agendas of meetings

hard copy
website

6p per sheet
Free

Minutes of meetings (as above) – nb this will exclude information that is properly regarded as private to the meeting.

hard copy
website

 

6p per sheet
Free

 

Reports presented to council meetings - nb this will exclude information that is properly regarded as private to the meeting.

hard copy 

6p per sheet

Responses to consultation papers

hard copy 

6p per sheet

Responses to planning applications

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Bye-laws

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Class 5 – Our policies and procedures
(Current written protocols, policies and procedures for delivering our services and responsibilities)
Current information only

Policies and procedures for the conduct of council business: Procedural standing orders
Committee and sub-committee terms of reference
Delegated authority in respect of officers
Code of Conduct
Policy statements

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Policies and procedures for the provision of services and about the employment of staff:
Risk Assessment
Current vacancies
Policies and procedures for handling requests for information
Complaints procedures (including those covering requests for information and operating the publication scheme)

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Schedule of charges )for the publication of information)

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Class 6 – Lists and Registers Currently maintained lists and registers only

Assets Register

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Register of members’ interests

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Register of gifts and hospitality

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Class 7 – The services we offer (Information about the services we offer, including leaflets, guidance and newsletters produced for the public and businesses) Current information only

Community centres and village halls

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Parks, playing fields and recreational facilities

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Seating, litter bins, clocks, memorials and lighting

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Bus shelters

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Agency agreements

Hard copy

6p per sheet

Additional Information None identified.

SCHEDULE OF CHARGES

This describes how the charges have been arrived at and should be published as part of the guide.

TYPE OF CHARGE

DESCRIPTION

BASIS OF CHARGE

Disbursement cost

Photocopying @ ..p per sheet (black & white)

Actual cost *

Photocopying @ ..p per sheet (colour)

Actual cost

 

Postage

Actual cost of Royal Mail standard 2nd class

* the actual cost incurred by the public authority