This page contains further information about the information HMCPSI holds and how you can get access to it.

The topics covered here are:

Freedom of information

General right of access

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) gives the public the right to access information held by central government, local government and other public organisations. The Act is intended to improve openness and accountability in the public sector.

View the full text of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The general right of access to information came into force on 1 January 2005. From this date, applicants may submit requests for information to HMCPSI.

Requesting information from HMCPSI

Requests must be in writing and include a contact name, address and details of the information requested. Emails are included in the definition of ‘writing’.

FOI requests should be directed to:

HMCPSI
4th floor, One Kemble Street, London WC2B 4TS.

Duties under FOI

HMCPSI has several duties to fulfil in responding to the applicant. Subject to the 23 exemptions listed in the Act, these include duties to confirm or deny whether HMCPSI holds the information requested; to communicate it to the applicant if it does; to advise and assist the applicant where necessary; and to reply promptly, ideally within 20 working days of receipt of the initial request.

Procedure

HMCPSI will acknowledge in writing the receipt of all FOI information requests within 20 working days. Applicants will be advised in writing if it is necessary to exceed this time period and the reasons why.

In cases where exemptions apply and either a request for information has been refused or information has been edited prior to release, HMCPSI will explain its decision in writing to the applicant.

Fees

In line with the Freedom of Information Fees Regulations, HMCPSI will not charge for FOI requests for which the total cost of collating, assessing and releasing information is less than £450. All work by HMCPSI personnel is charged at a rate of £25 per hour per person.

Where the total cost of processing an FOI request exceeds £450, HMCPSI may either refuse the request, communicate to the applicant that information which can be found within the cost threshold or, in exceptional circumstances, offer the applicant the choice of paying for the processing of their request in full.

Information applicants are required to cover in full the cost of having information communicated to them in their preferred format. This includes the cost of postage, photocopying, printing and media such as CD-ROM.

Exemptions

A number of exemptions relating to the disclosure of information are identified in the Freedom of Information Act. These fall into two categories: Qualified Exemptions, where it is necessary to determine whether the public interest would be best served by the disclosure or withholding of information, and Absolute Exemptions, where the public interest test does not apply.

Further guidance on the exemptions can be found on the websites of the Information Commissioner and the Ministry of Justice.

Copyright

Recipients of information gained as a result of FOI requests should note that HMCPSI maintains copyright control of all publications produced by the organisation.

A Guidance Note is available on the Legislation website.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Data Protection Act and personal information 

General right of access

The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) aims to secure the right of individuals to privacy by protecting information that is held about them. Individuals have the right to submit a subject access request (‘SAR’) to data controllers, asking for a description of the personal data held about them and to receive a copy of that information.

View the full text of the Data Protection Act 1998

Requesting information from HMCPSI

Requests for access to recorded personal information by the individuals to whom the information relates will be processed by the authority as SARs in accordance with the requirements of Section 7 of the DPA 1998.

Requests must be submitted in writing and must provide a name and postal address (or email address if the applicant prefers to receive the information electronically).

Once a request is received, if the applicant has not already provided suitable proof of identity, he or she should be asked to provide this. Details of what evidence will be accepted and how to handle evidence is provided in the Information Access Standard Operating Procedure.

Applicants should not be asked to explain the purpose of their request, although in the course of clarifying requests and ascertaining exactly what information is being sought by an applicant it may be necessary to seek further information from them.

DPA requests should be directed to:

HMCPSI
4th floor, One Kemble Street, London WC2B 4TS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Model publication scheme

This model publication scheme has been prepared and approved by the Information Commissioner. It has been adopted without modification by HMCPSI without further approval and will be valid until further notice.

This publication scheme commits HMCPSI (the authority) to make information available to the public as part of its normal business activities. The information covered is included in the classes of information mentioned below, where this information is held by the authority.

The scheme commits the authority:

  • To proactively publish or otherwise make available as a matter of routine, information, including environmental information, which is held by the authority and falls within the classifications below
  • To specify the information which is held by the authority and falls within the classifications below
  • To proactively publish or otherwise make available as a matter of routine, information in line with the statements contained within this scheme
  • To produce and publish the methods by which the specific information is made routinely available so that it can be easily identified and accessed by members of the public
  • To review and update on a regular basis the information the authority makes available under this scheme
  • To produce a schedule of any fees charged for access to information which is made proactively available
  • To make this publication scheme available to the public

Classes of information

Who we are and what we do.

Organisational information, locations and contacts, constitutional and legal governance.

What we spend and how we spend it.

Financial information relating to projected and actual income and expenditure, tendering, procurement and contracts.

What our priorities are and how we are doing.

Strategy and performance information, plans, assessments, inspections and reviews.

How we make decisions.

Policy proposals and decisions. Decision-making processes, internal criteria and procedures, consultations.

Our policies and procedures.

Current written protocols for delivering our functions and responsibilities.

Lists and registers.

Information held in registers required by law and other lists and registers relating to the functions of the authority.

The services we offer.

Advice and guidance, booklets and leaflets, transactions and media releases. A description of the services offered.

The classes of information will not generally include:

  • Information the disclosure of which is prevented by law, or exempt under the Freedom of Information Act, or is otherwise properly considered to be protected from disclosure
  • Information in draft form
  • Information that is no longer readily available as it is contained in files that have been placed in archive storage, or is difficult to access for similar reasons

The method by which information published under this scheme will be made available.

The authority will indicate clearly to the public what information is covered by this scheme and how it can be obtained.

Where it is within the capability of a public authority, information will be provided on a website. Where it is impracticable to make information available on a website or when an individual does not wish to access the information by the website, a public authority will indicate how information can be obtained by other means and provide it by those means. In exceptional circumstances some information may be available only by viewing in person. Where this manner is specified, contact details will be provided. An appointment to view the information will be arranged within a reasonable timescale.

Information will be provided in the language in which it is held or in such other language that is legally required. Where an authority is legally required to translate any information, it will do so.

Obligations under disability and discrimination legislation and any other legislation to provide information in other forms and formats will be adhered to when providing information in accordance with this scheme.

Charges which may be made for information published under this scheme

The purpose of this scheme is to make the maximum amount of information readily available at minimum inconvenience and cost to the public. Charges made by the authority for routinely published material will be justified and transparent and kept to a minimum.

Material which is published and accessed on a website will be provided free of charge. Charges may be made for information subject to a charging regime specified by Parliament.

Charges may be made for actual disbursements incurred such as:

  • Photocopying
  • Postage and packaging
  • The costs directly incurred as a result of viewing information

Charges may also be made for information provided under this scheme where they are legally authorised, they are in all the circumstances, including the general principles of the right of access to information held by public authorities, justified and are in accordance with a published schedule or schedules of fees which is readily available to the public.

If a charge is to be made, confirmation of the payment due will be given before the information is provided. Payment may be requested prior to provision of the information.

Written requests

Information held by a public authority that is not published under this scheme can be requested in writing, when its provision will be considered in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.