The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) was passed on 30 November 2000 and was brought fully into force, across the public sector, on 1 January 2005.
A Commencement Order, passed on 30 July 2013, brought further provisions of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (which extended the scope of the existing FOIA and amended the role of the Information Commissioner) into force on 1 September 2013 and included the meaning of publicly-owned company. As a result, publicly-owned companies owned by more than one public authority, such as Falmouth Exeter Plus (FX Plus), are now subject to the FOIA.
The FOIA is enforced by the Information Commissioner, who oversees both Freedom of Information and Data Protection legislation. The Act covers public authorities which have been defined in the Act and include Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and now FX Plus as a publicly-owned company.
The FOIA creates rights of public access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, sets out exemptions from that general right and places a number of obligations on public authorities. The aim of the FOIA is to promote greater openness and accountability across the public sector. It achieves this by giving public authorities two main responsibilities under the Act:
- FX Plus was committed to producing a publication scheme , which is a guide to the information we hold that is routinely made available to the public, such as websites and information about who we are and what we do etc. Under the FOIA, information includes all information held anywhere within the organisation and does not have to be in the form of a specific document or structure.
- We must deal with individual requests and release information unless we can justify withholding information because an exemption in the FOIA applies.
Your rights under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Under the Data Protection Act 1998, individuals already have the right to access information about themselves, held on computer, and in some paper files. Such requests for information are known as a subject access request. For FX Plus and other public authorities, the FOIA extends these rights to allow access to all the types of information we hold, whether personal or non-personal.
Under the right of access provisions of the FOIA 2000:
A request must be in writing (which includes email or fax) and must include a name and address to which a response can be sent, in addition:
- the request does not have to mention the Freedom of Information Act 2000
- the request can be made to any part of the public authority
- the authority must reply within 20 working days
- the authority has a duty to provide assistance to the applicant
- the authority may charge a fee for providing the information.
Our publication scheme
The FOIA requires that FX Plus, as a public authority, adopts and maintains a publication scheme. A publication scheme is a guide to the information which FX Plus has committed itself to publishing. The purpose of doing this is to make a significant amount of information available proactively, without the need to respond to specific requests.
You can view our publication scheme by following this link: www.ico.org.uk/for_organisations/freedom_of_information/guide/publication_scheme
Requests for information
Any individual can make a request to FX Plus for information. The person making the request does not have to be the subject of that information. If an individual is the subject of that information then the principles of the Data Protection Act to protect the data subject will take precedence over any Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) rights.
Anyone is able to make a request for information, although the request must be made in writing, which includes emails and fax etc. The applicant must include a name and address (email address is acceptable) and provide details of the information sought. Such requests must be dealt with within 20 working days. Information about charges made for a request is available in our Freedom of Information Charging Policy (please refer to the copy of this policy at the bottom of this web page). If a fee is required, the 20 working days will be extended by up to 90 working days until the fee is paid.
The FOIA gives applicants the following rights:
- To be told whether the information exists – known as a duty to confirm or deny
- To receive the information, and where possible in the manner requested, for example in paper or electronic format
- To receive reasons for a decision to withhold information.
The FOIA creates a general right of access to information held by FX Plus but some information may be regarded as exempt information and therefore will not have to be provided in response to an individual request. There are 23 exemptions as follows:
s21. Information accessible to public by other means
s22. Information intended for future publication
s23. Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters
s24. National security
s27. International relations
s28. Relations within the United Kingdom
s29. The economy
s30. Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities
s31. Law enforcement
s32. Court records, etc
s33. Audit functions
s34. Parliamentary privilege
s35. Formulation of Government policy etc.
s36. Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs (exempt information held by the House of Commons or Lords)
s37. Communications with Her Majesty, etc. and honours
s38. Health and safety
s39. Environmental information
s40. Personal information
s41. Information provided in confidence
s42. Legal professional privilege
s43. Commercial interests
s44. Prohibitions on disclosure
The full text of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 can be viewed by following this link:
FX Plus has adopted the Model Publication Scheme published by the Information Commissioner's Office (www.ico.org.uk). The following information will help you to locate information from FX Plus and help to ensure that your request is dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible.
If the information you want to request is about you as an individual, this is covered by the Data Protection Act. If the information is not about yourself, check the About Us section of our website which contains links to the classes of information we routinely publish.
Please note that the classes of information we routinely publish will not generally include the following, although this information can still be requested under the FOIA, but we won’t be routinely publishing it:
- Information the disclosure of which is prevented by law, or exempt under the FOIA, 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.
Classes of information within our Model Publication Scheme:
1. Who we are and what we do
Organisational information, locations and contacts, constitutional and legal governance.
2. What we spend and how we spend it
Financial information relating to projected and actual income and expenditure, procurement, contracts and financial audit.
3. What our priorities are and how we are doing
Strategies and plans, performance indicators, audits, inspections and reviews.
4. How we make decisions
Decision making processes and records of decisions.
5. Our policies and procedures
Current written protocols, policies and procedures for delivering our services and responsibilities.
6. Lists and Registers
Any information we are currently required to hold by law in publicly available registers.
7. The services we offer
Information about the services we offer, including leaflets, guidance and newsletters.
The scheme sets out all the information that FX Plus makes routinely available. If the information you require is in our scheme, you can contact us to find out how to obtain it using the details provided below. You will also find a range of helpful information on our website. Please utilise the search facility to locate relevant information.
If the information you require is not listed in our Model Publication Scheme or on our website please contact us in writing. To help us manage your request please ensure that you include a description of the information you require and an address to which we can send the information.
As of 1 September 2013, sections 11, 19 and 45 of the FOIA have been amended as a result of the passing of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. The amendment affects the way in which datasets must be made available, whether disclosed following a Freedom of Information request or published proactively. A summary of the provisions are provided below:
- Datasets must be made available in reusable format so far as reasonably practicable. The Explanatory Notes to the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 explain that the term “capable of re-use” means not only that the data is machine-readable but also that it is available in a format based on open standards, rather than a proprietary format. For example, a spreadsheet that is made available in a CSV (comma separated value) format uses an open standard, whereas a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet does not, even though that particular product is widely used. However, the Excel spreadsheet can be saved as a CSV file
- If the dataset is a relevant copyright work, it must be provided under the terms of a specified licence. A relevant copyright work is one for which the public authority owns the copyright and database rights and which is not a Crown copyright or Parliamentary copyright work. There are three licences available an Open Government Licence (OGL), a Non-Commercial Government Licence, and a Charged Licence. The copyright holder must be established before licensing a dataset for reuse as copyright could belong to a third party, in which case the dataset would not be available for reuse unless the third party grants permission
- Public authorities must publish datasets that have already been requested as part of their Publication Scheme
More information on Datasets can be found within the Information Commissioner’s guidance on Datasets which can be viewed by following this link: http://www.ico.org.uk/for_organisations/guidance_index/~/media/documents/library/Freedom_of_Information/Detailed_specialist_guides/datasets-foi-guidance.pdf.
Full details on our Model Publication Scheme can be viewed by following this link: www.ico.org.uk/for_organisations/freedom_of_information/guide/publication_scheme.
Please follow this link to view the About Us section of our website: www.fxplus.ac.uk/about-us where you will find lots of helpful information about FX Plus.
You may also wish to refer to our Freedom of Information Act Charging Policy and Complaints Procedure at the bottom of this webpage.
To help us to respond as quickly as possible please send your request to:
Tony Sanders, Chief Executive Officer (Interim)
Falmouth Exeter Plus
Direct Line: 01326 255521
Environmental Information Regulations
Access to environmental information is provided through the Environmental Information Regulations. Please use the contact details provided above to request environmental information.
What happens to your data when you submit a Compass enquiry?
When submitting an enquiry through Compass, part or all of your enquiry may be shared between the following support departments: Accessibility & Inclusive Learning, Living Support, Wellbeing, Multi-faith Chaplaincy, Academic Skills, English for Academic Purposes, Accommodation Services, The Compass and Security. This is for the purpose of ensuring efficient resolution of your enquiry and for providing you with service and support.
For full details on how Student Services may use your data please click here for the confidentiality statement.
University of Exeter students only: Your enquiry may also be passed to our partners in SID, University of Exeter, if they are required to assist with the resolution of your enquiry.
All electronic records within are stored securely for 6 years after you have graduated (or last contact) and are then destroyed.
Further information regarding data protection information for Students may be found here:
University of Exeter: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/dataprotection/students/
Falmouth University: http://www.falmouth.ac.uk/data-protection