Freedom of information

The following is sourced from:

1. The Freedom of Information Act


The Freedom of Information Act gives you the right to ask any public sector organisation for all the recorded information they have on any subject.

Anyone can make a request for information – there are no restrictions on your age, nationality or where you live.

Your request will be handled under the Data Protection Act if you ask for information about yourself.

2. Organisations you can request information from

You can request information from publicly funded organisations that work for the welfare of the whole population, eg:

government departments
local councils
schools, colleges and universities
health trusts, hospitals and doctors’ surgeries
publicly funded museums
the police
non-departmental public bodies, committees and advisory bodies
Government departments post responses to freedom of information requests online.

3. How to make an FOI request
You can contact an organisation directly by letter or email to make a freedom of information (FOI) request.

When making your request, you should include:

your name
an address where you can be contacted
a detailed description of the recorded information you want
Most requests are free but you might be asked to pay a small amount for photocopies or postage. You will be told by the organisation if you have to pay anything.

You should receive the information within 20 working days. If the organisation needs more time, they will contact you and tell you when you can expect the information.

You could check to see if the organisation you are making an FOI request to has given the information before as a result of someone else’s request. Organisations may publish this information on their website.

4. How you can receive the information
You can ask for the information in a number of different formats:

paper or electronic copies of any original documents
audio format
large print
Depending on the nature of your request, you can ask for all the information or just a summary.

Make sure you check the copyright status of the information your receive if you plan to reproduce it.

5. If your request is turned down
Some sensitive information might not be available to members of the public. If this is the case, the organisation must tell you why they have withheld some or all of the information you requested.

An organisation can turn down your request if they think it will cost them more than £450 (£600 for a central government organisation) to deal with your request.

They might then ask you to be more specific so they can provide the information you’re looking for.

If an organisation doesn’t provide you with the information you request, you should first contact them and ask them to review their decision.

If you are still not satisfied, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Activate Learning – Publication Scheme

A publication scheme is a document which 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 publication, 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.

Activate Learning is adopting the model publication scheme developed for the further education sector and is therefore committed to publishing the information it describes.

The model is designed for further education colleges and sixth form colleges across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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. However, to reflect the diversity in size and function of an institution, a number of optional classes of information are included.

As a result, models within the sector will vary slightly. Any option classes relevant to us have been included in our scheme. Details of our policy will be published on the website in the near future.

Freedom of Information Act Charges – January 2014 onwards

£25 / hour

Minimum fee £25 as hours will not be subdivided

The exception to this rate is where a document is readily available where the charge will be £10 to cover administration costs.

If you have any questions regarding our policy please contact us and we can help you.

To make a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act or if you have a complaint regarding any of our services please contact:-

In writing to:

The Clerk to the Governing Body
Activate Learning
Oxpens Road

Or by email to: