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Freedom of Information (FOI)

Legal Requirement

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 aims to promote greater openness and accountability across the public sector by requiring all ‘public authorities’ to make information available proactively, through their publication schemes.

The Act came fully into force in England and Wales on 1 January 2005 and Girton College has had a publication scheme since that date. The scheme is regularly updated and feedback is welcomed.

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

What is a publication scheme?

A publication scheme is a document that describes the information that 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.

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

The ‘model’ publication scheme

Girton College has adopted the model publication scheme prepared by the Information Commissioner’s Office and is committed to publishing the information it describes.

This model is designed to assist the public in accessing information from public authorities. However, to reflect the diversity in size and function of institutions, models will vary slightly.

Accessing information covered by the publication scheme

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

Next to each class we have indicated the manner in which the information described will be available (hard copy or via the internet). We have also indicated whether charges apply to material in each class.

To request information available through our publication scheme, please contact the Freedom of Information Coordinator.

Please note that a publication scheme relates to ‘published’ information. Therefore, material covered has already been prepared in a format ready for distribution.

What about information NOT covered by the publication scheme

From 1 January 2005 you will have the right, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, to request any information held by a public authority which it has not already made available through its publication scheme.

Requests will have to be made in writing and, in general, public authorities will have 20 working days to respond. They may charge a fee, which will have to be calculated according to Fees Regulations. They will not be required to release information to which an exemption in the Act legitimately applies. However, public authorities may be required to explain to the applicant why they are not releasing information and they may also have to justify this to the Information Commissioner.

Feedback and complaints

It is important that this publication scheme meets your needs. If you find the scheme difficult to understand, please let us know. 

We also welcome suggestions as to how our scheme might be improved. Any questions, comments or complaints about this scheme should be sent in writing to the Freedom of Information Coordinator.

Contact Information:

The Freedom of Information Coordinator
Girton College, Cambridge, CB3 0JG
T: +44 (0)1223 338987

If we are unable to resolve any complaint, you can complain to the Information Commissioner, the independent body which oversees the Freedom of Information Act:

Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Further information

Scotland has its own Freedom of Information Act and Information Commissioner, visit: