Freedom Of Information

Freedom of Information Act 2000

INTRODUCTION

1. LEGAL REQUIREMENT

1.1 Adopting a publication scheme is a requirement of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This Act promotes greater openness and accountability across the public sector by requiring all 'public authorities' to make information available proactively, through a publication scheme.

1.2 'Public authorities' are defined in the Act and include universities, further education colleges and sixth form colleges.

2. WHAT IS A PUBLICATION SCHEME?

2.1 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 publications, 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.

2.2 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.

3. THE 'MODEL' PUBLICATION SCHEME FOR FURTHER EDUCATION

3.1 North Hertfordshire College has adopted the model publication scheme developed for the Further Education sector and is therefore committed to publishing the information it describes.

4. WHO WE ARE

4.1 North Hertfordshire College is a Further Education College located 30 miles from London with Centres in Stevenage, Hitchin and Letchworth. The College is able to offer learners the best local choice of Full Time, Part Time and Higher Education Courses because of its relative size and the excellent facilities it has. As well as offering an excellent range of courses, the college prides itself in the additional benefits it has to offer.

4.2 North Hertfordshire College was formed in April 1991 by the merger of Stevenage and North Herts Colleges as part of the restructuring of Further Education within Hertfordshire.

4.3 The Corporation was established under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 for the purpose of conducting North Hertfordshire College. The College has exempt charitable status and is governed by the provisions of:

  • a The Education Acts (as defined in section 578 of the Education Act 1996) and any subsequent Education Acts.
  • b The Further and Higher Education Act 1992, as modified by the Learning & Skills Act 2000.
  • c The Instrument and Articles of the Corporation.
  • d The Learning & Skills Council (LSC) financial memorandum.
  • e The Standing Orders of North Hertfordshire College.
  • f The College's NHC Financial Regulations.

4.4 The College's mission: To become nationally recognised as the foremost entrepreneurial college in the UK

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5. ACCESSING INFORMATION COVERED BY THE PUBLICATION SCHEME

5.1 The classes of information we publish are described in the second part of the scheme.

5.2 Next to each class we have indicated the manner in which the information described will be available. We have also indicated whether charges apply to material in each class.

5.3 To request information available through our publication scheme, please contact:

Academic Service Team Leader
North Hertfordshire College
Letchworth Town Hall, Broadway
Letchworth
Hertfordshire
SG6 3PF
01462 424242
foi-enquiry@nhc.ac.uk

5.4 Please note that a publication scheme relates to 'published' information. Therefore, material covered has already been prepared in a format ready for distribution.

5.5 Published information will be made available on request in community languages and also in Braille and large print.

6. WHAT ABOUT INFORMATION NOT COVERED BY THE PUBLICATION SCHEME?

6.1 You have the right, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, to request any information held by a public authority which it has not already made available through its publication scheme.

6.2 Public authorities will have 20 working days to respond to information requests. They may charge a fee, which will have to be calculated according to Fees Regulations. They will not be required to release information to which an exemption in the Act legitimately applies. However, public authorities may be required to explain to the applicant why they are not releasing information and they may also have to justify this to the Information Commissioner.

7. FEES

7.1 The government has not set the fees yet but it is likely that the cost of a request will be as follows:

Information on the Internet

  • Information is free of charge on the website (i.e. there is no charge by us), but the user will have to meet any charges by their Internet Service Provider, personal printing costs, etc.

Information in hard copy

  • For those without Internet access, a single print-out from the website page(s) will be available by post by contacting the address given in section 5.3. Photocopying and postage costs will apply.
  • Information can be viewed in hard copy at the address given in section 5.3. A charge will be made for any photocopies.
  • If a charge is applicable it will be specified at the time of the request and will be payable in advance of the information being provided.

8. FEEDBACK

8.1 It is important that this publication scheme meets your needs. If you find the scheme difficult to understand, please let us know. We also welcome suggestions as to how our scheme might be improved. Any questions, comments or complaints about this scheme should be sent in writing to the Publication Scheme Co-ordinator below.

Deputy Principal
North Hertfordshire College
Letchworth Town Hall, Broadway
Letchworth
Hertfordshire
SG6 3PF

8.2 If we are unable to resolve any complaint, you can complain to the Information Commissioner, the independent body who oversees the Freedom of Information Act:

Information Commissioner Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

9. FURTHER INFORMATION

More information about the Freedom of Information Act is available on the Information Commissioner's website at:

http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/

Please note that Scotland has its own Freedom of Information Act and Information Commissioner. For more information, please see the Scottish Executive's website at:

www.scotland.gov.uk/government/foi