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Slinfold Parish Council
Freedom of Information Act

Publication Scheme
Adopted from 1 April 2013

To download a copy of this document, click here.

INTRODUCTION

The Freedom of Information Act

 The Freedom of Information Act grants to members of the public rights of access to all kinds of recorded information held by a wide range of public authorities. Information about the Act is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office at www.ico.gov.uk/

Publication Scheme

The Act requires every public authority to adopt and maintain a generic model publication scheme which should be adopted and operated by all public authorities from 1 January 2009. Slinfold Parish Council adopted the generic model publication scheme at their Council Meeting on 18th December 2008 and the scheme below is effective from 1 April 2013 (adopted at Parish Council Meeting 28th March 2013). It is intended to provide everyone interested in the Council with a comprehensive guide to the information that the Council will automatically or routinely publish or otherwise makes available to the public.

Freedom of Information Requests and the Publication Scheme

It is important to note that a publication scheme simply sets out the information that is routinely available. Information that is not listed in the Information Available Guide of this document can still be requested and it will be made available unless it can be legitimately withheld. This can be done by making a written request to the Parish Clerk who will reply within 20 working days after receipt of the request.

The Council’s Commitment to the Act

The Council is committed to openness and accountability and already makes large amounts of information available to the public, through the website, via the telephone and by post. Should a personal visit to view information, an appointment will be necessary.

MODEL PUBLICATION SCHEME

This model publication scheme has been prepared and approved by the Information Commissioner. It may be adopted without modification by any public authority without further approval and will be valid until further notice.

This publication scheme commits an authority to make information available to the public as part of its normal business activities. The information covered is included in the classes of information mentioned below, where this information is held by the authority. Additional assistance is provided to the definition of these classes in sector specific guidance manuals issued by the Information Commissioner.

The scheme commits an authority:

  • To proactively publish or otherwise make available as a matter of routine, information, including environmental information, which is held by the authority and falls within the classifications below. 
  • To specify the information which is held by the authority and falls within the classifications below. 
  • To proactively publish or otherwise make available as a matter of routine, information in line with the statements contained within this scheme. 
  • To produce and publish the methods by which the specific information is made routinely available so that it can be easily identified and accessed by members of the public. 
  • To review and update on a regular basis the information the authority makes available under this scheme. 
  • To produce a schedule of any fees charged for access to information which is made proactively available. 
  • To make this publication scheme available to the public.

Classes of information

Who we are and what we do.
Organisational information, locations and contacts, constitutional and legal governance.

What we spend and how we spend it.
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.
Policy proposals and decisions. Decision making processes, internal criteria and procedures, consultations.

Our policies and procedures.
Current written protocols for delivering our functions and responsibilities.

Lists and registers.
Information held in registers required by law and other lists and registers relating to the functions of the authority.

The services we offer.
Advice and guidance, booklets and leaflets, transactions and media releases. A description of the services offered.

The classes of information will not generally include:

  • 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. 
  • Information in draft form. 
  • 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.

The method by which information published under this scheme will be made available

The authority will indicate clearly to the public what information is covered by this scheme and how it can be obtained.

Where it is within the capability of a public authority, information will be provided on a website. Where it is impracticable to make information available on a website or when an individual does not wish to access the information by the website, a public authority will indicate how information can be obtained by other means and provide it by those means.

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

Information will be provided in the language in which it is held or in such other language that is legally required. Where an authority is legally required to translate any information, it will do so.

Obligations under disability and discrimination legislation and any other legislation to provide information in other forms and formats will be adhered to when providing information in accordance with this scheme.

Charges which may be made for information published under this scheme

The purpose of this scheme is to make the maximum amount of information readily available at minimum inconvenience and cost to the public. Charges made by the authority for routinely published material will be justified and transparent and kept to a minimum.

Material which is published and accessed on a website will be provided free of charge.

Charges may be made for information subject to a charging regime specified by Parliament.

Charges may be made for actual disbursements incurred such as:

  • photocopying 
  • postage and packaging 
  • the costs directly incurred as a result of viewing information

Charges may also be made for information provided under this scheme where they are legally authorised, they are in all the circumstances, including the general principles of the right of access to information held by public authorities, justified and are in accordance with a published schedule or schedules of fees which is readily available to the public.

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.

Written requests

Information held by a public authority 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.

Information available from Slinfold Parish Council under the model publication scheme

Information to be published

How the information can be obtained

Cost

Class1 - Who we are and what we do

(Organisational information, structures, locations and contacts)

This will be current information only

N.B. Councils should already be publishing as much information as possible about how they can be contacted.

Website

Hard copy

Free

10p per A4 sheet

Who’s who on the Council and its Committees

Website/Hard Copy

As above

Contact details for Parish Clerk and Council members (named contacts where possible with telephone number and email address (if used))

Website/Hard Copy

As above

Location of main Council office and accessibility details

Website/Hard Copy

As above

Staffing structure

Hard Copy

10p per A4 sheet

Class 2 – What we spend and how we spend it

(Financial information relating to projected and actual income and expenditure, procurement, contracts and financial audit)

Current and previous financial year as a minimum

Hard Copy

10p per A4 sheet

Annual return form and report by auditor

Hard Copy

10p per A4 sheet

Finalised budget

Hard Copy

10p per A4 sheet

Precept

Hard Copy

10p per A4 sheet

Borrowing Approval letter

Hard Copy (if available)

10p per A4 sheet

Financial Standing Orders and Regulations

Website

Hard copy

Free

10p per A4 sheet

Grants given and received

Hard Copy

10p per A4 sheet

List of current contracts awarded and value of contract

Hard Copy

10p per A4 sheet

Members’ allowances and expenses

Website

Hard copy

Free

10p per A4 sheet

Class 3 – What our priorities are and how we are doing

(Strategies and plans, performance indicators, audits, inspections and reviews)

Hard Copy

10p per A4 sheet

Parish Plan (current and previous year as a minimum)

Hard Copy

10p per A4 sheet

Annual Report to Parish or Community Meeting (current and previous year as a minimum)

Website

Hard copy

Free

10p per A4 sheet

Class 4 – How we make decisions

(Decision making processes and records of decisions)

Current and previous council year as a minimum

Website

Hard copy

Free

10p per A4 sheet

Timetable of meetings (Council, any committee/sub-committee meetings and parish meetings)

Website

Hard copy

Free

10p per A4 sheet

Agendas of meetings (as above)

Website

Hard copy

Free

10p per A4 sheet

Minutes of meetings (as above) – NB this will exclude information that is properly regarded as private to the meeting.

Website

Hard copy

Free

10p per A4 sheet

Reports presented to council meetings - NB this will exclude information that is properly regarded as private to the meeting.

Hard Copy

10p per A4 sheet

Responses to consultation papers

Hard Copy

10p per A4 sheet

Responses to planning applications

Hard Copy

10p per A4 sheet

Bye-laws

Hard Copy

10p per A4 sheet

Class 5 – Our policies and procedures

(Current written protocols, policies and procedures for delivering our services and responsibilities)

Current information only

Website

Hard copy

Free

10p per A4 sheet

Policies and procedures for the conduct of council business:

Procedural standing orders (on Website)

Committee and sub-committee terms of reference

Delegated authority in respect of officers

Code of Conduct (on Website)

Policy statements

Website where indicated

Hard copy

Free

10p per A4 sheet

Policies and procedures for the provision of services and about the employment of staff:

Internal policies relating to the delivery of services

Equality and diversity policy

Health and safety policy

Recruitment policies (including current vacancies)

Policies and procedures for handling requests for information

Complaints procedures (including those covering requests for information and operating the publication scheme)

Hard copy or website where these policies are applicable. Some information may only be available by inspection

10p per A4 sheet

Information security policy

Hard copy

10p per A4 sheet

Records management policies (records retention, destruction and archive)

Hard copy

10p per A4 sheet

Data protection policies

Hard copy

10p per A4 sheet

Schedule of charges) for the publication of information)

Website

Hard copy

Free

10p per A4 sheet

Class 6 – Lists and Registers

Currently maintained lists and registers only

Hard copy

Some information may only be available by Inspection

10p per A4 sheet

Any publicly available register or list (if any are held this should be publicised; in most circumstances existing access provisions will suffice)

Hard copy

10p per A4 sheet

Assets Register

Hard copy

10p per A4 sheet

Register of members’ interests

Hard copy or Website

10p per A4 sheet

Register of gifts and hospitality

Hard copy or Website

10p per A4 sheet

Class 7 – The services we offer

(Information about the services we offer, including leaflets, guidance and newsletters produced for the public and businesses)

Current information only

Hard copy

Some information may only be available by Inspection

10p per A4 sheet

Burial grounds and closed churchyards

Hard copy

10p per A4 sheet

Community centres and village halls

Hard copy

10p per A4 sheet

Parks, playing fields and recreational facilities

Hard copy

10p per A4 sheet

Seating, litter bins, clocks, memorials and lighting

Hard copy

10p per A4 sheet

Bus shelters

Hard copy

10p per A4 sheet

Agency agreements

Hard copy

10p per A4 sheet

     

Any other Additional Information

Upon request by hard copy if available

10p per A4 sheet

Contact details:
Request for hard copies:
Mrs Mary Burroughs, Parish Clerk
PO Box 315
Billingshurst
West Sussex
RH14 9XX
Email: clerk@slinfold-pc.gov.uk
Tel: 01403-785864
Mobile: 07733-359479

SCHEDULE OF CHARGES

TYPE OF CHARGE

DESCRIPTION

BASIS OF CHARGE

Disbursement cost

Photocopying @ 10p per sheet (black & white)

Actual cost

 

Photocopying @ 20p per sheet (colour)

Actual cost

     
 

Postage

Actual cost of Royal Mail standard 2nd class

Freedom of Information Request

An additional charge may be made if the cost to the Parish Council for retrieval and collation is unreasonable.

 

COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

The Council would normally expect the Clerk or a named officer to understand what information you have asked for and be able to tell you where you can find it. If the information you receive is not what you asked for or need, you should first contact the Clerk or named officer. If the information is not available you will be told why.

If you believe that the Council has not dealt with your request fairly and cannot deal with it satisfactorily on an informal basis, you should follow our complaints procedure. You can get details of this procedure from the Clerk (details as above) or visit the Council Document page on the Website.

If you have followed our complaints procedure and are still not happy with how we have dealt with your request, you may also contact the Information Commissioner to ask them to investigate this matter further.