What is a publication scheme?
A publication scheme is a document which describes the information a public authority publishes, or intends to publish. In this context, 'publish' means to make information available, routinely. These descriptions are called 'classes of information'. The scheme is not a list of the actual publications, because this will change as new material is published or existing material revised. It is, however, the public authority’s commitment to make available the information described.
A publication scheme must set out the classes, or categories, of information published. It must also make clear how the information described can be accessed and whether or not charges will be made.
The 'model' publication scheme for further education
Guildford College has adopted the model publication scheme developed for the Further Education sector and is therefore committed to publishing the information it describes.
This model is designed for Further Education Colleges across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The purpose of the model is to save institutions duplicating effort in producing individual schemes and to assist the public in accessing information from across the sector. However, to reflect the diversity in size and function of institution, a number of optional classes of information are included. As a result, models within the sector will vary slightly. Any optional classes relevant to us have been included in our scheme.
To assist with the development of the model, a number of institutions across the sector volunteered as pilots. Information about the pilot exercise is available from the JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) website at: www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name=mps_overview
Accessing information covered by the publication scheme
Where possible we intend to progressively publish all documents covered by the scheme in electronic format via the College’s website, although at present many documents are available in hard copy only. Printed information on courses and services offered by the College is available free of charge, as are packs issued to people responding to notices of job vacancies. Other documents information will be produced subject to an administration charge of no more than £10. This would include the cost of producing the item in the format requested together with postage and packaging. In certain circumstances the College may waive the charge.
To request information available through our publication scheme, please contact the Freedom of Information Officer.
Please note that a publication scheme relates to 'published' information. Therefore, material covered has already been prepared in a format ready for distribution.
What about information not covered by the publication scheme?
From 1 January 2005 you will have the right, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, to request any information held by a public authority which it has not already made available through its publication scheme.
Requests will have to be made in writing and, in general, public authorities will have 20 working days to respond. They may charge a fee, which will have to be calculated according to Fees Regulations. They will not be required to release information to which an exemption in the Act legitimately applies. However, public authorities may be required to explain to the applicant why they are not releasing information and they may also have to justify this to the Information Commissioner.