Monday, 6 April 2009

ICO to check public authorities’ publication schemes

The Information Commissioner’s Office press release

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has begun monitoring public authorities to ensure they are complying with the model publication scheme, which came into effect on 1 January 2009, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Under the Act, authorities must adopt a publication scheme so that people can easily identify the types of information that will be routinely disclosed. The model scheme also reduces administration for public authorities and helps transparency. From today the ICO will check websites to ensure that the scheme is being adhered to.

Assistant Information Commissioner, Gerrard Tracey said: "We are actively monitoring authorities to promote good practice and ensure that the requirements of the scheme are being met. This is in line with both our enforcement strategy and the specific guidance we have provided to support public authorities in adopting the scheme.

"The vast majority of public authorities take their freedom of information responsibilities seriously and this new approach will support those who do. Unfortunately some do not, and in cases of systemic non-compliance we will use the powers available to us, which include enforcement action, to insist on adherence to the requirements of the Act."

The ICO will initially contact authorities to highlight areas of non-compliance and work with them to seek an informal resolution. The ICO takes a responsible approach to enforcement action and this will be considered after serious or repeated
non-compliance, failure to adopt a publication scheme or to make information available in accordance with it.

The ICO’s model publication scheme should be adopted by all public authorities and the ICO has produced user-friendly sector specific guidance to help implement the scheme.
Further details about the ICO’s monitoring strategy and publication schemes, including guidance, can be found on the ICO website –

Ed. I am not going to make a habit of publishing these but I thought this was interesting and probably explained the improvement in the part of the councils website where they publish documents.

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