Publication Schemes are designed to encourage public authorities to proactively make more information available without requiring a formal request to be made under the Freedom of Information Act.
Norfolk County Council has had a Publication Scheme in place since March 2003.
As of 1 January 2009, all public authorities are obliged to follow a new model publication scheme. This contains the following 7 broad classes:
- Who we are and what we do - covering organisational information, locations and contacts, constitutional and legal governance
- What we spend and how we spend it – covering financial information relating to projected and actual income and expenditure, tendering, procurement and contracts
- What our priorities are and how we are doing - strategy and performance information, plans, assessments, inspections and reviews
- How we make decisions – covering policy proposals and decisions, decision making processes, internal criteria and procedures, consultations
- Our policies and procedures – covering current written protocols for delivering our functions and responsibilities
- Lists and registers – covering information held in registers required by law and other lists and registers relating to the functions of the authority
- The services we offer – covering advice and guidance, booklets and leaflets, transactions and media releases and a description of the services offered
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has produced a series of ‘definition documents’ that show the types of information they expect authorities to publish under each class.
We have to publish a guide to the information available, which in this case is our website.
We are not obliged to alter our website to include sections that fit the classes and headings of the scheme. Each piece of information will be found in the most relevant section of the website, rather than all of the information covered by a heading necessarily being listed in the same place. The definition document headings are stated below alongside some pointers on where to find relevant information.
Some of the headings listed in the definition document are very specific (eg ‘Forward Plan’). These will relate to a document or group of documents and we will often be able to direct you to a specific part of the site where they are published.
Some of the headings are very broad and could potentially cover many different documents we hold (eg ‘internal communications guidance, criteria used for decision-making, internal instructions, manuals and guidelines’). The ICO’s guidance states that we do not need to publish information that falls under a heading where “it would be impractical or resource-intensive to prepare this material for routine release”.
Consequently, where necessary we have stated our interpretation of the heading in the table below. It is in these cases that the information will be spread over different parts of the website, depending on the specific topic each piece relates to.
If we do not list the information in our guide (ie on our website), either by publishing the information directly or by stating how a copy can be obtained, the information currently has not been identified as being published under the scheme. In this situation, you can still submit a Freedom of Information request for the information, which will be considered within 20 working days.
If at the end of the process we feel it would be helpful to publish the information, for instance if we have received several requests on the same topic, we will add it to our website. We will continue to review our scheme with the intention of publishing further information of public interest.
The vast majority of information covered by the scheme is available without a charge on our website. Any applicable charges for print versions will be stated on the relevant Internet site entry.
The vast majority of information covered by the scheme is available on demand on our website.
Where information is available in print, we aim to send a response within five working days. Where information is available by inspection only, we aim to contact the applicant within five working days to arrange a convenient appointment.