Accessibility statement


Finding and requesting information

Where do I start?

The University publishes a lot of information through its website.

In addition, the Publication Scheme provides a guide to the information the University makes available as a matter of course, with details on where to find it.

If you are interested in environmental information about the University estate, please see the campus development, grounds keeping or sustainability websites. 

Searching the website and using publicly available information can help in a number of ways. As well as helping locate specific information such as policies, accounts, reports, statistics, minutes and details of services, they can provide contextual information which can be of assistance when framing or submitting requests.

How do I request information held by the University?

If you have checked the website and cannot find the information you want, you can make an information request.

Please be aware that:

  • Freedom of Information (FoI) requests should be made in writing, give your name and an address for correspondence, and describe the information being sought. 
  • Environmental Information (EIR) requests can also be made verbally to a member of staff (e.g. in-person, phone, video) as well as in writing. If you make a verbal EIR request, please provide an address for correspondence to the member of staff.
  • If your request is for information about you, the UK General Data Protection Regulation applies. Please see our individual rights guidance pages on how to make a request. 
  • You should make the request as specific as possible and provide as full a description as possible of the information you require. 
  • If a request is unclear or ranges too widely, you may be asked to clarify it. This could mean it takes longer to get the information. 
  • If an FoI request is too large, it might be refused as it exceeds the costs limit.
  • If you have a preference as to the format you would like to receive the information in (e.g. pdf, spreadsheet), remember to make this clear in your request.

Send your request to:


Information Governance Team, Legal Services Department, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD

What happens once my request has been received?

Having received a valid request and sought any necessary clarification, the University will respond as quickly as possible, and in any event within 20 working days. If your request will take more than a few days to answer you should receive an acknowledgement of your request. If a fee is payable you will receive notice before the 20 working day limit expires.

Will there be a charge?

Although most information requests will generally be met without charge, a charge may be made for direct costs: such as those associated with the provision of photocopying, postage, supply of disk etc. Where the information falls under the Publication Scheme and a charge for a particular document or service is specified, this will also apply. A fee may also be charged where significant work is involved in meeting a request for information. Notice of any charges will be made in advance of the request deadline and the dispatch of the information.

Under the Environmental Information Regulations there is no charge for access to information that is already made freely and publicly available, to any public registers or lists, or for examining the information in person (at a place chosen by the University). In other circumstances charging is at the discretion of the University. The University maintains a schedule of charges for environmental information requests. A separate charging regime also operates for subject access requests made under the Data Protection Act.

What if the information is refused?

Although it is the University’s policy to make as much of its information available as possible, it may sometimes have to withhold information where it falls under an exemption or exception. Where the University decides not to disclose the information requested, it will supply the reasons for its decision, explaining the FOI exemption(s)/EIR exception(s) that apply. Where a public interest test was involved, it will also explain its arguments as to why disclosure was not deemed to be in the public interest.

Information may be refused in part or in whole.

Where information has been refused applicants have the opportunity to appeal against the decision. The University’s review and complaints procedure gives further details of the appeals process and this document is automatically supplied with any refusal notice. If it is not possible to resolve the matter through this route, you can also complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

What is the impact of a public interest test?

Many of the FOI Act's exemptions are not absolute, but are qualified by a Public Interest Test. Where the University has to consider whether the disclosure of normally exempt material is in the public interest, it may take longer to consider a request. The University will always try to effect public interest tests within the deadline, although there is scope within the legislation for this to happen outside it. In any event, the test will occur within a reasonable time and the University will keep you informed of your enquiry's progress.

For public interest tests associated with exceptions under the Environmental Information Regulations, no such extension exists to the time limit on a public interest disclosure decision (which is normally 20 working days).

What if I am unhappy with the University's response?

If, for any reason, you are dissatisfied with the University’s response or the handling of your request, you have the right to request an internal review.

Please write to us, explaining the reason for your dissatisfaction. Your complaint will be reviewed by someone not involved in the case or party to any original decision. You will normally be informed of the outcome of the internal review within 20 working days. 

Contact us at:


Information Governance Team, Legal Services Department, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD


If you remain dissatisfied after an internal review, you have the right to make a complaint to the office of the Information Commissioner, which is the independent body that oversees the implementation of the Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Regulations.

In the event of being dissatisfied with the response or judgement you receive from the Information Commissioner, you also have the right to appeal against their decision to the Information Tribunal.