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Freedom of Information requests (guidance for institutions)

Will OFFA release any unpublished information that my institution submits as part of the access agreement approval and/or monitoring processes?

OFFA is subject to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000, which gives the public a right of access to any information we hold. We have a responsibility to decide whether the information we hold should be disclosed on request, or treated as confidential. We can refuse to disclose information only in exceptional circumstances. The exemptions are outlined in the legislation.

We will not release draft access agreements or details of negotiations with institutions during the access agreement approval process, because this would prejudice our ability to conduct frank and open negotiations in the future and so the public interest in not disclosing outweighs the public interest in disclosing.

Individual monitoring returns are unlikely to be treated as confidential except in very particular circumstances. If you consider any part of your return to be confidential, please alert us to this and the reasons why.

Where we consider it to be appropriate and practicable, we may seek the institution’s views before disclosing any information in response to an FOI request.

Further information about the FOI Act is available on the Information Commissioner’s website.

How should I respond to FOI requests?

Institutions should always seek their own guidance in such matters.

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