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Freedom Of Information FAQ's

Freedom of Information FAQ

Freedom of Information (FoI)

The College approach to the release of information is a positive one; based on the assumption that information will normally be made available unless it is specifically exempt under the Act and where disclosure is not in the public interest.  All requests received in College will be handled on their own merits and each request will be assessed against Freedom of Information criteria.

Who does Freedom of Information (FoI) apply to?

FoI applies to all public bodies including government departments, the police, local authorities, schools, colleges etc.

What are the Access Rights?

Any body (whether an individual person or corporate body such as a private company) can apply to have access to any recorded information held by the College.

The reason for the request, if provided, is not taken into account in deciding whether particular information will be released or withheld.  If a reason is not provided we will not ask you why the information is wanted.

Additionally, the Act also provides you with the right to be told whether the information you want exists or not, but again this is subject to certain exceptions.

You can specify the manner in which you wish to receive the information e.g. a copy, summary or to actually inspect the record.  The College will attempt to comply with your request.

The Act is fully retrospective.  This means that you can ask for any information held by the College irrespective of its age.  For example, a document created in 1999 can be requested under the access to information provisions of the Act even though the Act provisions did not come into force until 1st January 2005.

A fee is payable and disclosure of information can be postponed until the fee has been paid.  Applicants will have three months from the date of notification to pay the fee before his request lapses.  If a fees notice is issued, time stops running from the issue of the notice until the fee is received.

Can I ask for information about myself under Freedom of Information?

Freedom of Information does not extend to the provision of personal information about yourself.  Such requests will continue to be handled under the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.

How do I make a request for information?

Your request for information must:

  • be in writing
  • be in permanent form (including e-mail and faxes)
  • give your name for reply
  • give an address for correspondence (an e-mail address would be acceptable)
  • describe the information requested as far as you possibly can.

Who should I contact to ask for information?

You should, in the first place, approach the Warden’s PA.  If the request is not for them to answer they will forward it on to the appropriate member of College.

How long should I wait for a reply?

A reply should be sent to you within 20 working days.  If your request is complicated we may need longer than 20 working days but if this is the case we will let you know within the original 20 day period and will keep you informed of the progress of your request.  Working days do not include any Saturday or Sunday or Christmas Day, Good Friday or bank holidays.

Will I be able to get any information I want?

Not always. The Act recognises that there will be valid reasons why some kinds of information may be withheld, such as if its release would prejudice national security or damage to commercial interests.

The College is not obliged to deal with vexatious or repeated requests. In addition the Act does not provide the right of access to personal information about yourself. This is instead available under Data Protection Act 1998, again subject to certain exemptions.

Can you refuse to give me the information I ask for?

The Act contains a number of exemptions to the right of access to information.

Most exemptions have to be considered in two stages:

  • firstly whether the exemption applies to all or part of the information requested and, if so,
  • is there a public interest in releasing the information which is greater than withholding it?

However, some information is covered by what is known as an "absolute" exemption.  In these cases it is not necessary to consider whether there is a public interest in disclosure.

What happens if you don't give me the information I want?

A letter will be sent to you explaining why the information is not being sent to you. This letter will explain which exemption we believe applies to the information you have asked for.  We will also explain why this exemption applies.

Is that the end of the matter?

No, if you are not happy with our decision you can ask us to have another look at your request and our decision.  This review will be done by another member of College staff who was not part of the original decision-making process. This person will be of a more senior grade to the person who originally decided on your request.  All aspects of your request will be looked at again and you will be informed of the reviewer's new decision.  This decision may be to support the original, may overturn it or may provide you with other information.

Who do I contact to ask for a review?

You should contact the person who wrote to you with the response to your request. That person will ensure that the papers relevant to your request will be passed to the appropriate person to re-examine your request.

What if I am still unhappy?

If you are still not satisfied after we have looked at your request again, you can then ask the Information Commissioner to look into the way your request has been handled.  The Commissioner is an independent officer who is appointed by Her Majesty the Queen and who reports directly to Parliament. The Commissioner can see all the papers about your request and decide whether our decision is fair and meets the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.

The Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire      SK9 5AF
Fax: +44 (0) 1625 524 510

Further information is available from ico.org.uk.

History of Keble

For general enquiries or information please contact

Keble College
Oxford
OX1 3PG
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1865 272727
Fax: +44 (0)1865 272705
Email: enquiries@keble.ox.ac.uk