When is information covered by the Freedom of Information Act?
The Act covers all recorded information held by the University. It is not limited to official documents and it covers, for example, drafts, emails, notes, recordings of telephone conversations and CCTV recordings. Nor is it limited to information you create, so it also covers, for example, letters you receive from members of the public, although there may be a good reason not to release them.
The Act does not cover information that is in someone’s head. If a member of the public asks for information, you only have to provide information you already have in recorded form. You do not have to create new information or find the answer to a question from staff who may happen to know it.
The Act covers information that is held on behalf of the University even if it is not held on the University’s premises. For example, you may keep certain records in off-site storage, or you may send out certain types of work to be processed by a contractor.
The Act does not cover information you hold solely on behalf of another person, body or organisation. This means employees’ purely private information is not covered, even if it is on a work computer or email account; nor is information you store solely on behalf of a trade union.