Freedom of Information Policy
1.0 Policy Statement
The University of Glasgow, as a Scottish Public Authority, is committed to the principles underlying the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (“FoISA”) and the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (“EISR”). The legislation provides a general ‘right of access’ to much of the information held by the University, in order to ensure greater openness and accountability. The University of Glasgow fully recognises the ‘right to access’ and will not restrict access to information unless a statutory exemption applies.
- Information routinely published by the University of Glasgow will be made publicly available via the University’s Publication Scheme
- All requests for information will be dealt with in an efficient and helpful manner, in accordance with the section 60 Code of Practice on the Discharge of Functions which accompanies FoISA and the section 62 Code of Practice on the Discharge of Functions which accompanies EISR
- In cases where a statutory exemption or exception applies, due consideration will be given to whether or not the information is disclosed, with appropriate regard to the statutory ‘harm’ and ‘public interest’ tests, where applicable.
2.0 Scope of the Policy
This policy has been established to ensure that the University of Glasgow complies with FoISA and EIRS. It applies to all information held by the University, which includes information held by all departments and staff, irrespective of its format. Information ‘held’ by the University includes information created or received, as well as information held by third parties on the University’s behalf.
3.1 The University of Glasgow, as a Scottish Public Authority, has a responsibility to implement the provisions of FoISA and EISR. The University must therefore maintain a general ‘right of access’ to the information it holds, proactively publish more information via its Publication Scheme, and maintain its records in accordance with the regulatory environment as set down in the section 61 Code of Practice: Records Management that accompanies FoISA.
3.2 The Data Protection and Freedom of Information Office will be responsible for:
- The day to day freedom of information matters and for developing guidance and training for staff on FoISA and EIRS issues
- The development and maintenance of the University’s Publication Scheme,
- The processing, or provision of coordination & advice on, those FoISA and EIRS Information Requests made to the University where the Act's exemptions or exceptions, as appropriate, are invoked
- The processing of non-routine requests for information that are subject to the terms of FOISA and EIRS
- The provision of the administrative structure for all the Requests for Review received by the University under FoISA and EIRS
- The coordination of contact between the University and the Scottish Information Commissioner - including Investigations, Appeals, and the Publication Scheme.
3.3 All members of staff who create, receive or maintain information have responsibilities under FoISA. Staff must ensure that any request for information they receive is handled in compliance with this Policy and the University’s Guidelines. Specifically, members of staff are responsible for:
- Familiarising themselves with this Policy and associated guidelines
- Providing advice and assistance to those requesting information
- Seeking advice from their local Freedom of Information Coordinator as soon as possible after a request is received
- Managing documents and records in accordance with University procedures.
3.4 Freedom of Information Coordinators are responsible for:
- Liaising with their organisational unit regarding contributions to the University’s Publication Scheme
- Contacting the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Office promptly for assistance with any non-routine requests for information, where exemptions to the release of information may be considered, that have been received by their organisational unit
- Maintaining a case record of any non-routine requests for information that they have actioned.
3.5 Heads of Department are responsible for ensuring that their staff are aware of the existence and content of this Policy. Heads of Department should put in place clear guidelines governing who can release what categories of information and in what circumstances.
3.6 Compliance with this Policy is compulsory for all staff employed by the University of Glasgow, and any member of staff who fails to comply with this Policy may be subject to disciplinary action.
4.1 Members of staff must promptly forward any comments or complaints about the University’s Publication Scheme to the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Office.
4.2 Any complaints regarding the way in which the University has handled a request for information must be dealt with in accordance with the Freedom of Information Complaints and Review Procedure http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/dpfoioffice/policiesandprocedures/foisa-complaintsandreview/
This Policy was approved by the Information Policy and Strategy Committee at its meeting on 4th December 2006.