Frequently Asked Questions
Freedom of Information
How can I access information?
The University makes information available through its publication scheme and in response to requests made under the general right of access. Our publication scheme is a gateway to information which is available at all times. It is arranged by activity and within each section are links to direct users to information held on the University's web pages.
Access the publication scheme here.
If you wish to make a Freedom of Information Request for information that is not available through the publication scheme, please remember that:
- Your request will need to be in writing (emails are considered to be in writing), and include your real name and a contact address (an email address is fine if you are happy with a response via email);
- You should describe the information you need as clearly as possible – if your request is too broad or unclear, we may need to ask you to be more specific;
- The Freedom of Information Act does not give a right of access to personal information about yourself – that is covered under data protection;
- The University will aim to respond to your request within twenty working days. We are not obliged to respond to vexatious or repeated requests;
- If your request will take more than 18 hours of work to locate and extract the information requested, the University will not process the request unless you can modify it to bring it below the 18 hour limit;
- You might not always receive the information you request as there are sometimes valid reasons why some kinds of information will be withheld, such as if its release would prejudice health and safety or damage commercial interests. When this is the case, we will explain our reasons for withholding information.
If you wish to make a request for information, please write to:
Information Compliance Team – Freedom of Information
The University of Nottingham
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How will my request be handled?
Will I have to pay a fee for requesting information?
The University will not normally make any charges for providing information where the costs of doing so are less than £50. For full details, please see our information sheet Requests for Information and Personal Data – Applicable Fee
What if I am unhappy with the way my request is handled?
The University has a complaints procedure should you be unhappy with the way in which your request is handled. If having gone through the University's complaints procedure you remain dissatisfied, you can complain to the Information Commissioner's Office. For full details, please see our Freedom of Information Complaints – Information Sheet
What advice is there for staff?
Requests for information may be made to any member of staff in the University. If you receive a request for information that you would release routinely, please handle this as normal. If you receive a request for information that you would not release routinely or
- a request which specifically refers to the Act; or
- a request for sensitive information; or
- a request for information held across more than one department;
Please forward it to the Information Compliance Team in the Academic Services Division. The Information Compliance Team will also handle requests made to them directly.
What other sources of information are available?
The Information Commissioner's Office is the UK's independent authority set up to promote access to official information and to protect personal information. For information on your rights under the Freedom of Information and Data Protection Acts, please visit the website at www.ico.gov.uk
A copy of the full Freedom of Information Act 2000 is available from Legislation.gov.uk here
When will information be published?
Information in the Scheme will only be published when it has been approved by the highest relevant University authority or, in the case of meeting minutes agendas, and papers, when the Committee Chair has approved them.
How long will published information be available for?
The most recent approved versions of policies or guidelines will be published. Committee minutes will be available online on a rolling basis.
Will I have to pay a fee?
Most information in the Publication Scheme is available free of charge, however, the University is entitled to request a reasonable charge for communicating the information, such as photocopying and postage, or for information produced commercially.
What if the information I want is not covered in the publication scheme?
The Freedom of Information Act has been in effect since January 2005 giving the public a general right of access to information held by the University. Requests for access must be made in writing and the University may need to clarify your request if it is unclear what information is being sought.
Once it has received the fee, the University must respond to requests within 20 working days by:
- confirming whether it holds the information requested, and
- providing a copy or summary of the information, or arranging for the enquirer to inspect the information,
- giving reasons why it has withheld the information
What information will not appear in the Publication Scheme?
The University will not publish the following information unless there is a legal obligation to do so:
- Any information on individual students, without their permission
- Any information on human research subjects, without their permission
- Any information on staff without their permission, other than that set down in this Scheme
- Information that might threaten the health or safety of staff, students or the public
- Information that might threaten the University’s commercial interests
- Information that is published elsewhere (see guidance below)
- Information that is intended for eventual publication
- Information on legal proceedings
- Information whose publication is forbidden by law or by a court order, or whose publication would place the University in contempt of court
- Information of a genuinely confidential nature
- Information covered by a claim of professional legal privilege
- Information that would prejudice the prevention or detection of crime or the prosecution of offenders
- Investigations being carried out by the University that might lead to criminal or civil proceedings
Any such information that is discussed by University committees will be taken as Reserved Business, and will not be published.
The University does not have to provide information if the cost of locating and retrieving it is more than £450, and it can refuse to answer requests from people who repeatedly ask for the same or similar information.
Where else can I find information about the University?
Information about the University is also published by:
- the QAA
- Office for Students and United Kingdom Research and Innovation
- Some historical information will remain accessible from the website of HEFCE, which ceased operation in April 2018, whereupon its tasks were split between the two bodies above.
Do you provide alternative formats?
The University is committed to openness and accessibility and information will be made available in a variety of formats whenever possible. To request information in another format, and for all other enquiries relating to the Publication Scheme, please contact:
Information Compliance Team - Freedom of Information
The University of Nottingham