Freedom of Information - frequently asked questions

Freedom of Information Act and the Publication Scheme

What is the Freedom of Information Act about?

The Freedom of Information Act was passed in 2000 to provide the public with general right of access to information held by public authorities. Under the Act, public authorities have two key responsibilities:

  • Adopt a publication scheme; and
  • Respond to requests for information

What is a Publication Scheme?

A Publication Scheme is essentially a guide for the public regarding the information that the Council publishes. The Publication Scheme describes:

  • the "classes" of information available from the Council;
  • the "manner" in which the information is available, for example, how the information can be obtained; and the format in which the information is available, such as the website, at a library or contact point, for inspection in a council office.
  • whether a fee is charged for the information.

What type of information is included in the Publication Scheme?

Publication does not refer solely to printed material. It has been interpreted as widely as possible to include material available on our web site, printed books, reports, and leaflets.

Why does the Council need to have a Publication Scheme?

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires that all public authorities must have a Publication Scheme in place. From January 2009, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea will be adopting Information Commissioner’s Model Publication Scheme. The Publication Scheme is intended to promote a culture of openness by encouraging the proactive publication of material held by the authority. The purpose of the Scheme is to make sure that a significant and growing amount of information is easily available without the need for individuals to make a specific request.

Where do I obtain a copy of the Publication Scheme?

Download a copy of the Publication Scheme.

Freedom of Information Publication Scheme

What is meant by 'classes' of information?

Classes are a way of grouping or categorising the vast amount of information that is held by the Council.

The Model Publication Scheme specifies 7 classes of information set at a high level to maximise the proactive publishing of information. The aim is to allow members of the public to search and navigate the scheme without formal knowledge of the Council's structure. These classes are listed below.

The aim is to allow members of the public to search and navigate the scheme without formal knowledge of the Council's structure. These classes are listed below.

  1. Who we are and what we do
  2. What we spend and how we spend it
  3. What our priorities are and how we are doing
  4. How we make decisions
  5. Our policies and procedures
  6. Lists and registers
  7. The services we offer

How do I find documents under a particular class?

The Council's Publication Scheme is supplemented by a list of documents which fall under each of the classes. This list is a 'living' document; it does not form part of the Publication Scheme itself but is an addendum that will be amended as information goes out of date or when new information is added.

This list is available only on the website. If you do not have Internet access, then you can use the Public Access facilities at the reference libraries. For further help, please see Information First Stop at the Kensington Central Library and Chelsea Library.

There are three ways in which information will be available via the Publication Scheme:

  1. a web page, searcheable database or a downloadable document via the Royal Borough's Internet site.
  2. a printed copy from one of the Council's information offices or contact points.
  3. a printed copy available for inspection at Council premises.

The list of documents will provide detail on the format in which the information is available.

What if I don't have access to the Internet?

We recognise that not everyone has the means or the capability to access information via the Internet. Therefore, we plan to place paper copies of the Publication Scheme in the Council information offices, contact points and reference libraries.

However, the list of documents is only available on the website as the information will change on a regular basis. You can view this using the Public Access Internet facilities in the reference libraries. For further help, please see Information First Stop at the Kensington Central Library and Chelsea Library.

Do I have to pay to obtain information?

All the information included in the Publication Scheme is available free of charge unless otherwise stated in the list of documents. There may be a cost for printing information when using the Public Access Internet facilities available in the reference libraries.

What if the information I'm looking for is not on the list?

If the information you require is not available on the Publication Scheme, then a request can be made under the Freedom of Information Act.

Where do I go for help about the Publication Scheme?

You can ask for help from Information First Stop at the Kensington Central Library and Chelsea Library. Alternatively, you can email foi@rbkc.gov.uk or write to:

Publication Scheme Co-ordinator
Freedom of Information Act
Room N101, Town Hall, Hornton Street
London W8 7NX