When is the University not obliged to disclose requested information?
The University is not obliged to release information where requests:
- Fall under an exemption category;
- Are vexatious or repeated;
- Exceed the appropriate limit;
- Do not sufficiently identify the information sought;
- Are not in writing.
The Freedom of Information Act recognises that that not all information should be released to the public and that there are reasonable grounds for withholding certain information. Therefore, the legislation provides 23 exemptions, which public organisations can apply when considering the disclosure.
A list of the 23 exemptions is as follows:
- s21 - Information accessible to the applicant by other means
- s22 - Information intended for future publication
- s23 - Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters
- s24 - National security
- s25 - Certificates under ss 23 and s24: supplementary provisions
- s26 - Defence
- s27 - International relations
- s28 - Relations within the United Kingdom
- s29 - The economy
- s30 - Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities
- s31 - Law enforcement
- s32 - Court records etc
- s33 - Audit functions
- s34 - Parliamentary privilege
- s35 - Formulation of government policy etc
- s36 - Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs
- s37 - Communications with Her Majesty, etc. and honours
- s38 - Health and Safety
- s39 - Environmental information
- s40 - Personal information
- s41 - Information provided in confidence
- s42 - Legal professional privilege
- s43 - Commercial interests
- s44 - Prohibitions on disclosure
For more details on exemptions, follow this link
The Freedom of Information Act recognises that there may be a risk of individuals abusing their rights with unreasonable requests and requests that would impose substantial burdens on the financial and human resources of the organisation.
As a result, the legislation permits us not to oblige to requests that are deemed vexatious.
Vexatiousness will be assessed in all circumstances of an individual case, but if a request is not perceived to be a genuine endeavour to access information for its own sake, but is aimed at disrupting the work of the authority, or harassing individuals in it, then it may well be vexatious and therefore not processed.
If the University has previously complied with a request for information that was made by a person or group, it does not need to comply with a repeated identical or substantially similar request request from the same person or group unless a reasonable period of time has elapsed between compliance with the first request and receipt of the second.
Requests exceeding the appropriate limit set by the FoI Act
We are not obliged to comply with requests for information where locating and retrieving the information would exceed the 'appropiate limit' of £450 set by the Government. At the standard rate of £25 per hour, this equates to 18 hours of work
We do not normally charge for printing, photocopying, postage and other methods of transmitting the information requested. However if the the estimated amount exceeds £5.00 for a particular request, the applicant will be required to pay this fee before the University will comply with the request.
For more details, please refer to our fees statement.