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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Freedom of Information Act?
2. What information can I ask for?
3. How do I make a request for information?
4. How long will you take to reply?
5. Will there be a charge?
6. Can I receive the information in any format?
7. What happens if you refuse my request?
8. What's the difference between the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act?

 

1. What is the Freedom of Information Act?

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 allows members of the public to seek access to any information held by Public Authorities, including the University of Warwick. The Act came into force on 1 January 2005 and aims to promote openness and accountability of public authorities.

To assist you in obtaining the information you require the University has a Publication Scheme which sets out the classes of information that the University makes available to the public as a matter of course and which you can access easily either via the web (in the case of information in electronic format) or by contacting the relevant member of staff listed in the Scheme (in the case of hard copy publications).

If the information you require is not contained within the University's publication scheme you should make a request to the University as set out below in How do I make a request for information?

2. What information can I ask for?

All information that the University currently holds is subject to release, with certain limitations and exemptions. If the University does not hold the information you require but we know of another public authority who may have this information, we may forward your request to this public authority.

In the event that we refuse to tell you whether we hold the information you have requested, or if we refuse to disclose any information, we will provide you with our reasons for refusal and you will have the opportunity to appeal against this decision, as set out below in What happens if you refuse my request?

3. How do I make a request for information?

If the information you seek is not contained within the University's Publication Scheme, you should submit your request in writing to the University, either by emailing us at foi@warwick.ac.uk or by sending a letter to:

Mr Clayton Jones, University Legal Compliance Officer, Academic Office, University House, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 8UW, United Kingdom

Your request must include your full name and a correspondence address to which we can send the information you have requested. If you have submitted a request via email and not provided us with a postal address, your email address will be taken to be your correspondence address so long as the information you require can be given to you in electronic form.

If there are any details we require that you have not provided, or if we are unsure of the exact information you have requested, we will contact you to ask for additional information or for clarification.

4. How long will you take to reply?

We will respond as soon as we can, and in any event no later than 20 working days following our receipt of your request, or after receiving clarification of or any necessary additional information pertaining to your request. If a fee is payable (see Will there be a charge?), this 20 day limit will only apply from the date on which we receive your payment.

Occasionally we may face a difficult decision as to whether we can release the information you have requested. In these cases the time taken for us to come to a decision will not count towards the 20 working day limit, although we will keep you informed during the initial 20-day period as to the progress of our deliberations and make our decision as soon as possible.

If there are any other problems with providing you with the information you have requested within the 20 working day period we will also inform you of this as soon as we can.

5. Will there be a charge?

If the information you seek is contained within the University's Publication Scheme the scheme will specify whether the University will charge you a fee for supplying you with this information.

In the vast majority of all other cases, we will deal with the request at no cost to you. However, if you make a very detailed or complicated request, where it may take a long time to retrieve the information needed, we may charge you a fee in line with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. We also reserve the right to ask you to pay any reasonable costs associated with photocopying or printing information, postage, etc.

If a fee will apply to your request, we will notify you of this in the form of a fees notice. The stated fee must be paid before we retrieve the information you require.

6. Can I receive the information in any format?

You have the right to request that information be supplied in a particular form. We will take into account requests for a specific format wherever this is reasonably practicable.

7. What happens if you refuse my request?

Although our policy is to release as much information as possible, sometimes we may have to refuse your request as the information you require is exempt under the Freedom of Information Act. Sometimes we will have to decide whether it is in the public interest to release the information requested. If we have to refuse your request, we will inform you of our reasons for refusal and you will have the opportunity to appeal against this decision.

If you wish to make an appeal or if you have any complaints about the way in which your request for information has been handled, you should initially pursue this with the University by contacting the University Secretary, in line with the University's formal complaints procedure.

If the matter fails to be resolved through this route you have the right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner at the following address:

FOI Compliance Team (Complaints)
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF
UK

8. What's the difference between the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act?

The Data Protection Act provides access to personal information held about you as an individual, which only you will be able to access. Such information is not covered by the Freedom of Information Act. If you wish to request your personal information you will need to complete a Subject Access (DP1) form and return this, along with proof of identity (such as a copy of a photographic identity card such as a driving licence or passport), to the University's Legal Compliance Officer at the address listed on the form.