Getting Information from the University
A number of different access regimes give you the right to request recorded information held by the University.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) gives you the right to request any recorded information held by the University which is not about you personally and not about the environment (such as minutes of meetings, details of expenditure, and statistical information).
The Data Protection Act 1998 gives you the right to request the personal information the University holds about YOU (such as a student or staff file or comments on examination scripts). The Act refers to you as a data subject, and your request is known as a Subject Access Request
The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 give you the right to request any recorded information held by the University which relates to the environment (such as information on buildings, energy use, environmental research, information on emissions, or policies on environmental topics).
These information regimes give you the right to request any “recorded information”. Recorded information is information that the University currently holds, in any format (including paper, microfiche, video, and electronic formats), no matter when it was created.
The University is not obliged to create information, only to release information held. We may be required to manipulate databases to extract information, but not to manipulate data to create new information
How do I make a request?
Firstly, have a look at our Guide to Information It may be that the information you require is available there.
If not, then you will need to submit a request for information.
You need to put your request in writing – by e-mail is fine. If you are not able to do this, contact us by telephone and we can confirm to you in writing what you have requested.
The exception to this is requesting environmental information, where a request can be made verbally. In such cases we will still confirm to you in writing what you have requested.
To help us to locate the information you would like as quickly as possible, please provide as much detail as you can about the information you would like. If your request relates to specific documents, please provide any details of the document you may have (e.g. date of creation, author etc) and its likely location (e.g. the relevant staff member, Department or Service).
Send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org, or in hard copy to the address on the left, or telephone 01970 628593.
If your request is unclear, or it is not possible to identify the information requested from your original description, we will contact you to ask for further clarification.
What information can I ask for?
In principle, any information held by the University is potentially available to you. However, the Act does include various exemptions which we may apply in order to prevent the disclosure of information that, if released, would, for example, breach the Data Protection Act, or constitute a breach of confidence, or which could prejudice the commercial interests of the University or a third party, etc. Depending on the information requested, an exemption might apply to all or only part of that information. If only part of the information is exempt, you will still be able to obtain the remainder.
What happens next?
We will acknowledge receipt of your request within 48 hours, and confirm the deadline date for providing a full response.
We aim to respond as quickly as possible but, in any case, the University has to respond within 20 working days.
What if I’m not happy with the response or the way my request has been handled?
Under the FOIA and EIRs you have the right to appeal and request an internal review. If you are still dissatisfied, you may pass the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office.