Freedom of Information Policies & Procedures
Adopting a publication scheme is a requirement of Section 19 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The purpose of the Act is to promote greater openness and accountability by public authorities (i.e. government and other public sector organisations, including Further Education Colleges).
The information provided under Bishop Auckland College’s publication scheme falls into seven main classes as defined in the ‘Model’ Scheme for the Further Education sector.
The seven main classes of Information include:
- 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
How will information be supplied?
The publication scheme sets out what information is available to enquirers and how the information can be obtained (i.e. on the College website or on request). Where information is available on the College website a hyperlink will direct you to the relevant page.
What costs are involved?
A majority of information will be readily available on this website through the publication scheme and the college makes no charge for downloading this. For other documents a charge may be levied to cover administration, photocopying, postage and packing or to cover the costs of converting information to a preferred format.
Guidance: Photocopies will normally be charged at 10p for black and white and 50p for colour per A4 sheet. Postage will be based on current Royal Mail charges.
You will be asked if you want to proceed with a request before work is done that will attract a charge. If costs apply for responding to the request a fees notice will be issued. Once a fees notice is issued, the clock stops and you have three months to pay the charge. The request lapses after three months if the charge remains unpaid.
Where possible the College is committed to the use of electronic means to provide information that has been requested and will encourage the use of these means in all appropriate cases. Normally information supplied electronically will not involve a cost unless hard copy information has been specifically converted for this purpose.
The College may refuse a request if the cost of providing the information is over £450, this is referred to as the “appropriate limit”. This is calculated on a standard rate of £25 per hour (18 hours in total) based on estimating the staff time taken to:
- Determine if the information is held
- Locate the information or documents containing the information
- Retrieve the information
- Edit or Extract the releasable information contained within a document
How can information be requested?
If you are unable to obtain the information you require from the website, then please provide in writing (email is acceptable) your name, the address where you can be contacted and a description of the information required. Please address all requests for information to:
The Quality Office
Bishop Auckland College
Information requests that fall under the Freedom of Information Act will be responded to within 20 working days.
There are a number of exemptions applicable to the Freedom of Information act; if an absolute exemption can be applied it means that disclosure is not required by the Act and the College can refuse to supply the requested information in order to protect legitimate interests and sensitivities.
Where the College intends to refuse to supply requested information, notification and explanation of reason will be given to the applicant.
Appeals and complaints process
If you believe that we have not dealt with your request appropriately Bishop Auckland College has an appeal process. Appeals must be received within ten working days of the date you receive the written response to your request and must be made through the Information Officer.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of the appeal or complaint, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Retention of your data
Records documenting enquiries made under the Freedom of Information Act and the responses provided will be retained by the organisation for the current academic year, plus 2 years.