The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoI) and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) came fully into force on 1st January 2005. These two pieces of legislation provide anybody in the world with a general right of access to most recorded information held by public authorities, subject to a few exemptions.
Although FoI and EIR give applicants a right of access, they do not provide them with the right to re-use any information which is disclosed to them.
On 1st July 2005 a set of regulations was brought in called the “Re-use of public sector information regulations” (PSI). These regulations have been put in place in order to help to ensure the effective re-use of information produced in the public sector. The regulations provide public authorities with the ability to place a copyright notice on many of their documents advising of a charge for any ‘re-use’ of the information.
The office of public sector information lists the main objectives of the regulations as being:
- The ready identification of public section documents that are available for re-use
- The availability of many public sector documents for re-use at marginal cost
- Clarity of any charges to be made for re-use (with an explanation of basis of the charge being available on request)
In order to comply with the re-use of PSI regulations we have a duty to have the following things put in place:
- Copyright and licensing arrangements
- Standard licences
- Asset lists
- Complaints procedures
- Transparency, fairness and openness
The regulations also oblige the council to:
- Respond to all PSI requests within 20 working days
- Offer appropriate advice and guidance where necessary
- Grant licences for re-use of our public sector information where applicable
- Advise applicants of our refusal where appropriate, advising them of the reasons for refusal and their right to request an internal review
The regulations give the council the option to charge a fee for re-use of the information to the extent that the charges cover our costs for providing the information and provide a reasonable return on investment.