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Freedom of Information Policy


Selwyn College takes its responsibilities with regard to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (hereafter called the "Act") seriously. This document provides the policy framework through which compliance with these requirements is delivered and audited.

Scope and purpose

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the provisions of the Act are adhered to by the College and its staff and in particular that:

  • Relevant information about the College is routinely made available to the public as a matter of course through the Publication Scheme;
  • Other information not included in the Publication Scheme is available on request and such requests are dealt with in a timely manner; and
  • In cases where information is covered by an exemption, consideration is given as to whether or not the information should be released.


The College recognises its responsibilities under the Act to provide a general right of access to information held, to maintain appropriate recordkeeping practices and provide training for its staff concerning compliance with information legislation. The College Officer with overall responsibility for the compliance with the Act is the College’s Freedom of Information Officer, who is currently the Bursar.

The College’s Publication Scheme

The Freedom of Information Act makes it a duty for public authorities to adopt and maintain a publication scheme which is approved by the Information Commissioner.  The College has modified and adopted the 'approved model' for Higher Education establishments, which is divided into 7 sections:

  1. Who we are and what we do
  2. What we spend and how we spend it
  3. What our priorities are and how we are doing
  4. How we make decisions
  5. Our policies and procedures
  6. Lists and registers
  7. The services we offer

The College's Publication Scheme can be found on the College website: [link]

Specific requests for information

Information not available in the College's Publication Scheme can be requested by making a making specific request for information (see: Making a Freedom of Information Request).

Requests should be made in writing and the College will respond within the time limit of 20 working days.  If a fee is required, the period of 20 working days may be extended by up to 3 months until the fee is paid.

If the College does not hold the information, or if an exemption applies that prevents its release, then it is required to explain this and will do so.

Any request for information could be viewed as a request under the Freedom of Information Act.  However, the College will not consider requests which form part of the normal pattern of work to be Freedom of Information requests.  Only those requests which are considered to be outside the normal remit of the service provided and/or are marked specifically as requests under the Act will be recorded as Freedom of Information requests.  Staff should refer requests to the Freedom of Information Officer for clarification where necessary.  Requests for information not listed in the Publication Scheme will be dealt with by the Freedom of Information Officer.

Thought will be given before releasing an FOI response on whether it conflicts with other aspects of data legislation or policy, including the rights of individuals, and consideration will be given to redactions if the response might otherwise inappropriately lead to the identification of college members and others.

Requests for environmental information will be considered under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Charges for providing information

Unless otherwise specified, information made available through the College’s Publication Scheme will be provided free of charge.  However, the College reserves the right to charge an appropriate fee for dealing with a specific request for information not listed in the publication scheme.

Logging FOI requests

The College will keep a record of all requests received, noting:

  • the date the request was received;
  • the name and contact details of the person or organisation making the request;
  • the date the request was fulfilled or refused;
  • the reason for any exemption being applied.

A designated member of staff will be responsible for ensuring requests are fulfilled within the stipulated deadline and recording details of all requests.


There are a number of exemptions under the Act; some to which the public interest test  applies, and others which are absolute exemptions.  The College may decide that some information it holds could be regarded as exempt information under the Act. Where a request is made for information which includes exemptions, the College will consider the prejudice test and the public interest test and may withhold the requested information. The Freedom of Information Officer may consult with the Office of Intercollegiate Services (OIS) before making a decision to apply an exemption.

Requestors will not be entitled to information to which any of the exemptions in the Act applies.  Where an exemption is applied, the College’s response to the request will state what exemptions have been applied, and why.

A full list of exemptions can be found at the Information Commissioner’s website

Data Protection

Information will only be gathered and stored for specified purposes in accordance with UK data protection legislation.  Please refer to the Data Protection Policy for details.

Distribution and implementation 

This policy will be made available to all staff.  Appropriate training will be provided to relevant staff during their induction.


Freedom of Information complaints concerning the College's handling of Freedom of Information requests should in the first instance be directed to the Master.  Contact details for the routing of complaints - through the mailbox - will be included in the College’s guidance on how to make a FOI request.

In the circumstances where a complaint about the College's compliance with the Freedom of Information Act is unable to be resolved by the College, a complaint may be made to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the independent body who oversees the Freedom of Information Act.  Contact details for the Information Commissioner’s Office will be included in the College’s guidance on how to make a FOI request.


This Policy has been approved by Compliance Committee and College Council and will be
subject to regular review. Date of next review: November 2026