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Guide to Information

The University of Aberdeen Publication Scheme

Guide to Information published by the University of Aberdeen

1. Introduction

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) provides individuals with a right of access to all recorded information held by Scotland's public authorities. Anyone can use this right, and information can only be withheld where FOISA expressly permits it.

Section 23 of FOISA also requires that all Scottish public authorities maintain a publication scheme. A publication scheme sets out the types of information that a public authority routinely makes available. This scheme has been approved by the Scottish Information Commissioner, who is responsible for enforcing FOISA. We are also obliged to review this scheme from time to time.

The purpose of the scheme is to provide you with details of the range of information that we routinely publish. The scheme also provides details of how you can access this information, and tells you whether it is available free, or if there is a charge for the information.

Alongside FOISA, the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (the EI(S)Rs) provide a separate right of access to the environmental information that we hold. This publication scheme also contains details of the environmental information that we routinely make available.

Where information is not published under this scheme, you can request it from us under FOISA or, in the case of environmental information, the EI(S)Rs.

  • For further information on accessing information not covered by this scheme, please refer to Section 7 – How to access information which is not available under this scheme

Aberdeen University has adopted the model publication scheme (MPS) produced and approved by the Scottish Information Commissioner, who is responsible for enforcing FOISA. This scheme has been approved until 31 May 2017.

Our Guide to Information will be formerly reviewed and updated on an annual basis by the Advisory Group for Information Strategy (AGIS). Membership includes the University Secretary and senior management and academic leads. Day to day management of quality assurance and updates will be administered by the University Records Manager.

Further details about the model publication scheme may be found on the Commissioner’s own website – Model Publication Scheme 2013 or by contacting us at the address below.

This Guide to Information was prepared by the Scottish Higher Education Information Practitioners Group (SHEIP), under the auspices of Universities Scotland's Secretaries’ Group. 

We have made a commitment to publish all information which we hold which falls within the classes of information in the scheme.

We are obliged by FOISA to have due regard to the public interest in providing access to the information that we hold which relates to:

  • The services we provide;
  • The costs of those services;
  • The standard of those services;
  • The facts that inform the important decisions we take; and
  • The reasoning that informs our decisions.

This Guide to Information describes the information which we publish in accordance with the scheme and provides details of how to access the information and what it may cost.

The guide also contains details of the environmental information that we routinely make available under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (the EI(S)Rs).

2. Accessing information under the scheme - Availability and Formats

Our Guide to Information provides more details of the information available under the scheme, along with additional guidance on how the information falling within each of the MPS “classes” may be accessed.

Online: 
Most information listed in our Guide to Information is, wherever possible available on our website.  In many cases a link within Section 10 - Classes of information will direct you to the relevant page or document. Where no such link is present, you can find this information using our website’s “Search” facility or browse our A-Z index

Alternative arrangements are available for people who do not wish to, or who cannot, access the information online, or by inspection at the University's premises. We can arrange to send out information in per copy on request (although there may be a charge for this).

By email:  foi@abdn.ac.uk
If the information you seek is not published on our website, we can send it to you by email, wherever possible. 

By phone: 
Information provided through the scheme can also be requested from us over the telephone.  Please call +44 (0)1224 27 2037 or +44 (0)1224 273175

By post:

Information under the scheme may also be available in paper copy form.  Please address your request to:

Freedom of Information Officer

Library, Special Collections & Museums

The Sir Duncan Rice Library

The University of Aberdeen

Bedford Road

Aberdeen

AB24 3AA


When writing to us to request information, please include your name and address, full details of the information or documents you would like to receive, and any fee applicable (see Section 4- Our charging policy for further information on fees). Please also include a telephone number so we can telephone you to clarify any details, if necessary.

By inspection at our premises:
Some of the information that we publish in accordance with the scheme may be available for inspection on site. Please contact Freedom of Information Officer to discuss any necessary arrangements.

If you are still having trouble finding any document listed under our scheme, then please contact us for further assistance. Details of how to contact us may be found in Section 8 -Contact Us

3. Information that we may withhold

Our aim in maintaining this Guide is to be as open as possible. All information covered by the publication scheme can either be accessed through our website, or will be provided promptly following our receipt of your request.

If a document contains information that the University may legitimately wish to exempt from disclosure under an appropriate section of Scotland’s freedom of information laws, (for example sensitive personal information or a trade secret), we will remove or redact the information before publication but we will inform you that we have done so and provide an explanation of why the information is withheld.

The Scottish Information Commissioner's guidance on information that may be exempt from publication is available here:

If you wish to complain about any information which has been withheld from you, please refer to Section 8– Contact us.

4. Our Charging Policy
There is no charge for information viewed on our website, or at our premises, except where there is a statutory fee. Fees are published within the guide.

Unless otherwise stated, information contained within our scheme is available from us free of charge where it can be downloaded from our website or where it can be sent to you electronically by email.

We reserve the right to impose charges for providing information in paper copy or on computer disc.  Charges will reflect the actual costs of reproduction and postage to the University, as set out below. 

In the event that a charge is to be levied, you will be advised of the charge and how it has been calculated.  Information will not be provided to you until payment has been received. 

  • Reproduction costs:

Where charges are applied, photocopied information will be charged at a standard rate of 10p per A4 side of paper (black and white copy) and 30p per A4 side of paper (colour copy). 

Computer discs will be charged at the rate of £1.00 per CD-ROM. 

  •        Postage cost:

We will pass on postage charges to the requester at the cost to the University of sending the information by first class post.

There are also a small number of publications for which the University makes a charge.

These documents will clearly be identified within this scheme. These publications will be charged at the cover price, plus actual postage costs, as charged by the Royal Mail. 

Details of any individual charges which differ from the above charging policy are provided under the relevant class of information.

5. Our Copyright Policy

Where the University of Aberdeen holds the copyright in its published information, this information cannot be copied or reproduced without formal permission. Such permission will usually be granted provided it is consistent with fair dealing provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and that;

  • It is copied or reproduced accurately
  • It is not used in a misleading context, and
  • The source of the material is identified and the copyright status acknowledged

Where the University of Aberdeen does not hold the copyright in information we publish, we will make this clear.

When the University does not hold the copyright in the published information, this will be made clear and wherever possible, details of the copyright holder will be provided in the scheme.

In most cases the copyright holder will be obvious from the documents.  In cases where the copyright is unclear, however, it is the responsibility of the person accessing the information to locate and seek the permission of the copyright holder before reproducing the material or in any other way breaching the rights of the copyright holder. 

Information about Crown copyright material is available on the website of the Queen's Printer for Scotland at oqps.gov.uk. We can provide you with a copy of this information if you do not have internet access.

6. Records Management and Archiving Policy
Information is managed and archived, where applicable, in line with the University’s Records Management Policy and associated retention/disposal schedules.  Records with significant evidential or historical value will be transferred to the University Archives for permanent preservation. Further details on our policies and management framework are available at - University Records Management 
7. How to access information which is not available under this scheme

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) provides you with a right of access to the information we hold, subject to certain exemptions.

The Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EI(S)Rs) separately provides a right of access to the environmental information we hold.

For requests for information that we hold that is not available under this scheme, our contact details are;

Freedom of Information Officer
University of Aberdeen
King's College
ABERDEEN
AB24 3FX

Email: foi@abdn.ac.uk
Telephone:  +44 (0)1224 272037 or +44 (0)1224 273175
Fax:           +44 (0)1224 273984

For requests for your own personal data

The Data Protection Act (1988) gives data subjects a right to access to personal data held about them by the University, subject to certain exceptions or exemptions.

The Act also allows the University to charge a fee for such access (up to a prescribed maximum). The University will however seek to take an approach which facilitates access to their personal data by individuals without them having to make formal subject access requests under the Act, whilst acting within the Data Protection principles.

All formal subject access requests must be responded to within the 40-day period prescribed by the Act, and must be notified to the Data Protection Officer as soon as they are received. Any cases of doubt as to whether a request for access to personal data is a subject access request under the Act must be referred to the Data Protection Officer without delay.

The University will normally charge the prescribed maximum fee (currently £10) for subject access requests (SARs) to personal data which is processed automatically or held in structured manual files. 

Requests for personal information relating to living identifiable individuals come under the Data Protection Act 1998 (as amended) and requests for information should be directed to:

Data Protection Officer
University of Aberdeen
King’s College
ABERDEEN
AB24 3FX  

Email: dpa@abdn.ac.uk
Telephone: +44(0)1224 272037 or +44 (0)1224 273175
Fax: +44 (0)1224 273984

Charges for information which is not available under the scheme:

If you submit a request to us for information which is not available under the scheme the charges will be based on the following calculations:

For general information requests:

There will be no charge for information requests which cost us £100 or less to process

Where information costs between £100 and £600 to provide you may be asked to pay 10% of the cost. That is, if you were to ask for information that cost us £600 to provide, you would be asked to pay £50, calculated on the basis of a waiver for the first £100 and 10% of the remaining £500.

We are not obliged to respond to requests which will cost us over £600 to process.

In calculating any fee, staff time will be calculated at actual cost per staff member hourly salary rate to a maximum of £15 per person per hour.

We do not charge for the time to determine whether we hold the requested information, or for the time it takes to decide whether the information can be released. Charges may be made for locating, retrieving and providing information to you.

In the event that we decide to make a charge, we will issue you with notification of the charge (a fees notice) and how it has been calculated. You will have three months from the date of issue of the fees notice in which to decide whether to pay the charge. The information will be provided to you on payment of the charge. If you decide not to proceed with the request there will be no charge to you. 

Charges for environmental information:

Charges are calculated on the basis of the actual cost to the University of providing the information.

Photocopying is charged at 10p per A4 sheet for black and white copying, 30p per A4 sheet for colour copying.

Postage is charged at actual rate for first class mail.

Staff time is calculated at actual cost per staff member hourly salary rate (there is no maximum) 

The first £100 worth of information will be provided to you without charge. 

Where the cost of providing the information falls between £100 and £600 you will be asked to pay 10% of the cost. That is, if you were to ask for information that cost us £600 to provide, you would be asked to pay £50 that calculated on the basis of a waiver for the first £100 and 10% of the remaining £500. 

Where it would cost more than £600 to provide the information to you, however, we will ask you to pay the full cost of providing the information, with no waiver for any portion of the cost. 

The Scottish Information Commissioner has also issued some guidance on charging for information:

For charges relating to information which is available under this scheme, please refer to  Section 4– Our Charging Policy.

8. Contact Us

You can contact us for assistance with any aspect of this guide or publication scheme. We welcome feedback on ways in which we can improve and develop our scheme further. Please tell us about;

  • Other information that you would like to see included in the scheme
  • Whether you found the scheme easy to use
  • Whether you found the scheme useful
  • Whether our staff were helpful
  • Other ways in which our publication scheme can be improved

 Please send your comments and suggestions to;

Freedom of Information Officer

Library, Special Collections & Museums

The Sir Duncan Rice Library

The University of Aberdeen

Bedford Road

Aberdeen

AB24 3AA

                   

email: foi@abdn.ac.uk 
phone: +44 (0)1224 272037 or +44 (0)1224 273175

9. Complaints

We aim to make access to information we publish as easy as possible. Should you have a complaint about the scheme or access to information we publish, we would seek to resolve the complaint as quickly as possible.   

Please write to or email the Freedom of Information Officer, at the address above, in the first instance.

If you are unhappy with our initial response and wish us to review it, then complaints should be made in writing to

The Secretary to the University,
University of Aberdeen,
King's College,
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX

If the University is unable to resolve a complaint, an appeal may be made to the

Scottish Information Commissioner,
Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner,
Kinburn Castle,
Double Dykes Road,
St Andrews KY16 9DS.

10. Classes of Information

We publish information that we hold within the following Classes of information.

Once information is published under a class we will continue to make it available for the current and previous two financial years.

Where information has been updated or superseded, only the current version will be available. If you would like to see previous versions, you may make a request to us for that information.

  • 1. General Information
  • 2. Access to Information
  • 3.Governance
  • 4.Financial Resources
  • 5.Corporate Planning
  • 6.Procurement
  • 7. Management of Research
  • 8. Commercialisation and Knowledge Transfer
  • 9. Human Resources
  • 10. Physical resources
  • 11. Health & Safety
  • 12. Equality & Diversity
  • 13. Support for Disabled People
  • 14. Student Administration & Support
  • 15. Teaching Quality
  • 16. Information Services
  • 17. External & Community Relations
  • 18. Government & Regulatory Relations

If you wish to receive a paper copy, please contact the Freedom of Information Officer. See Section 8 - Contact Us for details.