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Freedom of Information

We fully support the aims and objectives of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and are committed to making information available wherever feasible.

We will:

  • proactively publish and release information: through our Publication Scheme (see downloads) for generally available information and, wherever possible, in response to specific questions
  • help individuals to exercise their rights of access to their personal data: as set out in the Data Protection Act 1998
  • deal with requests for information in a timely manner: we will treat all requests fairly and without prejudice taking into account the public interest in making accurate and timely information available wherever possible
  • give clear explanations of decisions if information cannot be published or released
  • support the right to appeal: if dissatisfied with the response to a request, individuals should follow our procedures on how to complain

Background

There are three information access legislations that apply to BBSRC. These are:

  • Freedom of Information Act 2000 which provides a general right of access to information held by public authorities
  • Environmental Information Regulations 2004 which provide a similar right of access but specific to environmental information
  • Data Protection Act 1998 which ensures organisations store and process personal data in the appropriate manner

Freedom of Information Act 2000

The Freedom of Information (FoI) Act 2000 received Royal Assent on 30 November 2000 . It establishes a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, sets out exceptions to that right, and places a number of obligations on public authorities. The Act applies to a large number of public authorities, including Government Departments and Non Departmental Public Bodies such as BBSRC. Since January 2005 you are entitled, on making a request for information in writing to the Council (unless the information falls under one of the specific exemptions of the Act) to:

  • be informed in writing by the Council whether it holds information of the description specified in your request, and
  • have that information communicated to you, if that is the case

The Act provides a time limit for dealing with a request for information – that is, within 20 working days. A fee may be charged for processing requests for information under the Act.

Environmental Information Regulations 2004

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (the Regulations) are closely linked to FoI. Environmental information is interpreted very broadly and includes the state of elements of the environment, the state of human health and safety, conditions of human life, the food chain, cultural sites and built, and substances, energy, noise, radiation or waste affecting or likely to affect the state of the elements. Information relating to environmental information is considered exempt under FoI, and can therefore be dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations.

Requests for information normally need to be processed within 20 working days, although this may be extended to 40 working days for complex or high volume requests.

Data Protection Act 1998

You have a statutory right of access (certain exemptions apply) to personal data about yourself under the Data Protection Act 1998. The right of access here is to personal data held on computer or on structured manual files, and you are entitled to be informed whether any personal data concerning yourself is being held by the "data controller" i.e. BBSRC, and if so:

  • to be given a description of the data in question
  • to be told for what purposes the data are processed
  • to be told of the recipients or classes of recipients to whom the data are, or may be, disclosed

You are also entitled to be given a copy of the information with any unintelligible terms explained and to be given any information available to the Council as to the source of the data. FoI extends this right to access to personal data held on any type of file, with effect from 1 January 2005.

If you wish to apply for access to your personal data, known as a "subject access request", you should contact BBSRC in writing.

A request for access to personal data must be dealt with promptly and, in any event, within 40 working days of receipt of the request.

A request template is available in the downloads section if you wish to print this out and send it to us.