A Model Publication Scheme (required by the Freedom of Information Act 2000) has been prepared and approved by the Information Commissioner. It has been adopted by Neasham Parish Council (the ‘Council’) without modification, and will be valid until further notice.
This Publication Scheme commits a parish council 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 Council. Additional assistance is provided to the definition of these classes in sector specific guidance manuals issued by the Information Commissioner.
1. The Scheme commits Neasham Parish Council:
- To proactively publish or otherwise make available as a matter of routine, information, including environmental information, which is held by the Council and falls within the classifications below;
- To specify the information that is held by the Council 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 Council makes available under this Scheme;
- To produce a schedule of any fees charged for access to information which is made proactively available; and
- To make this Publication Scheme available to the public.
2. 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; and
- 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.
3. method by which information published under this scheme will be made available:
- The Council 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 the Council, 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, the Council 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 the Council is legally required to translate any information, it will do so; and
- 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.
4. 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 Council 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 and 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; and
- If a fee is charged the requestor must be sent a fees notice within the normal four weeks. The requestor then has three months in which to pay the fee and information does not need to be provided until the fee is received. The time from when the fees notice is issued until the fee is received does not count towards the four week limit.
5. Charges cannot be made for:
- staff time;
- removing exempt information from the information you are providing; or
- use of contractors or specialist staff
6. Written requests:
Information held by the Council 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.