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Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information and Data Protection Acts

The Freedom of Information Act came into force at the beginning of 2005. It deals with access to official information. The Act provides individuals or organisations with the right to request information held by a public authority, either by letter or email.

Timescales for dealing with requests

The public authority must tell the applicant whether it holds the information, and must normally supply it within 20 working days, in the format requested.

Disclosure of information

The public authority does not have to confirm or deny the existence of the information or provide it if an exemption applies, the request is vexatious or similar to a previous request, or if the cost of compliance exceeds an appropriate limit.

Exemptions

If exemption applies, but is qualified, this means that the public authority must decide whether the public interest in using the exemption outweighs the public interest in releasing the information.

Refusals to disclose

If an applicant is unhappy with a refusal to disclose information, they can complain to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), after first exhausting any internal review procedure. The ICO will investigate the case and either uphold the authority's use of an exemption or decide that the information must be disclosed.

Information applicable

The Act is fully retrospective and applies to all information, not just information filed since the Act came into force.

Publication scheme

Information must be published through the public authority's publication scheme. Tower Hamlets College's Publication Scheme may be found on these pages. Wherever possible, information will also be publicised online at www.tower.ac.uk . Any information provided as part of the publication scheme is provided to the public as part of its normal business activities. College departments are individually be responsible for the information provided. Departments and their relative contact details are available from the Contacts link which appears on the left-hand menu of this page.

Classes of the publication scheme

The scheme lists information under seven broad classes which are listed on the left-hand side. The classes of information will not generally include (a) information the disclosure of which is prevented by law, or exempt under the Freedom of Information Act, or is otherwise properly considered to be protected from disclosure; (b) Information in draft form; or (c) information that is no longer readily available as it is contained in files that have been placed in archive storage, or is difficult to access for similar reasons.

Requesting information

Please contact the Freedom of Information Officer on FOI_request.ac.uk if you require a printed copy. Non-English and audio versions may also be made available by arrangement.

Information held by the College that is not published under this scheme can be requested in writing, when its provision will be considered in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

Viewing information in person

In exceptional circumstances some information may be available only by viewing in person. Where this manner is specified, contact details should be indicated. An appointment to view the information will be arranged within a reasonable timescale.

Charges

The College reserves the right to charge a fee to recover any costs incurred such as for photocopying, postage and packaging, or the costs directly incurred as a result of viewing information.
If a charge is to be made, confirmation of the payment due will be given before the information is provided. Payment may be requested prior to provision of the information.

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