Freedom of Information
One of the aims of the Freedom of Information Act is that public authorities should be clear and proactive about the information they make available to the public. Schemes are intended to encourage organisations to publish more information and to develop a greater culture of openness.
Central to this, Section 19(2) of the Act sets out the requirements for a publication scheme.
A publication scheme must specify:
- The classes of information the Council publishes or intends to publish
- The manner in which they will be published
- Whether the information is available free of charge or on payment
Section 19(3) states that "in adopting or reviewing a publication scheme, a public authority shall have regard to the public interest in allowing public access to information held by the authority and in the publication of reasons for decisions made by the public authority".
Publication has been interpreted as broadly as possible to include information available from Hart District Council's website; one-off printed documents from a desktop PC, printed books, reports and leaflets. Where information is available on the website free of charge a hypertext link will direct you to the correct page.
The classes in the scheme are based on information type, so that no knowledge of the Council's organisational structure should be required to navigate around the scheme.