University Publication Scheme


1. Legal requirement

1.1 Adopting a publication scheme is a requirement of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This Act promotes greater openness and accountability across the public sector by requiring all 'public authorities' to make information available proactively, through a publication scheme.

1.2 'Public authorities' are defined in the Act and include universities, further education colleges and sixth form colleges.

2. What is a publication scheme?

2.1 A publication scheme is a document that describes the information a public authority publishes, or intends to publish. In this context, 'publish' means to make information available, routinely. These descriptions are called 'classes of information'. The scheme is not a list of the actual publications, because this will change as new material is published or existing material revised. It is, however, the public authority's commitment to make available the information described.

2.2 A publication scheme must set out the classes, or categories, of information published. It must also make clear, through its Guide to Information, how the information described can be accessed and whether or not charges will be made.

3. New model publication scheme for higher education

3.1 The Information Commissioner, in line with section 20 of the FOI Act, has approved a new model publication scheme which should be adopted by all public authorities and will be effective from 1st January 2009. Further information is provided in the 'Definition Document for Universities' below.

3.2 The University of York has adopted the model publication scheme developed for the Higher Education sector and is therefore committed to publishing the information it describes.

3.3 This model has been designed for universities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, following extensive consultation. The purpose of the model is to save institutions duplicating effort in producing individual schemes and to assist the public in accessing information from across the sector.

3.4 The Information Commissioner's 'Definition Document for Universities' (also available in a PDF version: Definition Document for Universities (PDF , 186kb)) gives examples of the type of information that it is good practice for universities to provide through their Guides to Information. It is not an exhaustive list and some information may be legitimately omitted by a public authority: for example if

  • it is not held;
  • the information is exempt under one of the FOI exemptions or Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) exceptions, or its release is prohibited under another statute;
  • the information is archived, out of date or otherwise inaccessible; or,
  • it would be impractical or resource-intensive to prepare the material for routine release.

4. Who we are

The University of York was established by Royal Charter in 1963, and is governed by Council. The corporate plan directs the University's major activities. Information on how to access the relevant governing documents and the corporate plan is given in the publication scheme below. Where the University of York returns information to other bodies covered by the Freedom of Information Act (such as the Higher Education Funding Council for England) this publication scheme includes links to information about the University held by these other bodies.

5. Accessing information covered by the publication scheme

5.1 The classes of information we publish are described in the second part of the scheme.

5.2 Next to each class we have indicated the manner in which the information described is available. Information supplied by the University via the web is provided free of charge. There are no charges for University publications, such as the prospectuses, the Annual Report and the University Magazine. Charges may apply to the provision of information in hard copy or electronic formats where the University incurs a cost in providing that information. Further information on charges can be found in the Freedom of Information: Fees and Charging Policy.

5.3 To request information available through our publication scheme, please use the web links provided or use the contact information given in the appropriate section of the scheme.

5.4 Contact details can be obtained through the University Home Page.

5.5 Information released under this publication scheme is protected by copyright and therefore may not be used by third parties for any purpose not permitted by copyright law.

6. What about information not covered by the publication scheme?

6.1 From 1 January 2005 members of the public have the right, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, to request any information held by the University of York which has not already been made available through the publication scheme.

6.2 Requests to the University of York should be made in writing. The University will respond within 20 working days. The University of York might charge a fee, which will be calculated according to the statutory Fees Regulations and Freedom of Information: Fees and Charging Policy. If the University believes it is inappropriate to release the information requested, the applicant will be told, and the University will give reasons for this decision.

7. Feedback

7.1 It is important that this publication scheme meets public needs. If you find the scheme difficult to understand, please contact the University. The University also welcomes suggestions as to how the scheme might be improved. Any questions, comments or complaints about this scheme should be sent in writing to:

The University Records Manager,
University of York,
YO10 5DD

7.2 Complaints about the Publication Scheme will be handled in accordance with the University's complaints and review procedure.

7.3 If the University of York is unable to resolve a complaint, you can contact the Office of the Information Commissioner, the independent body that oversees the Freedom of Information Act:

Information Commissioner,
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,

8. Further information

More information about the Freedom of Information Act is available from the University's Freedom of Information pages and on the Information Commissioner's website.