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HERFORUM  November 2004

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Subject:

Re: Freedom of Information Act

From:

"NEWMAN, Martin" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Issues related to Sites & Monuments Records <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 17 Nov 2004 16:54:52 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (98 lines)

The reason the HER Forum programme has been delayed is that I had invited the office of the information commissioner to send a representative to speak. Unfortunately despite giving a provisional yes over the phone I found out this week that they are unable to send anyone. I have asted then for a contribution to HER News instead.
Hopefully a revised programme will be out shortly.

Martin

-----Original Message-----
From: Lisk, Susan - Environment & Economy, Archaeological Services [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: 17 November 2004 16:46
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information Act

Dear Emma,
Hope this finds you and yours well.  I think it's possibly my turn to ask a
favour of you, which can't wait until the meeting in late Nov.  OCC has just
started to go through the process of informing us about the FoI, with the
possible ramifications for the SMR.  One of the best options sounds like
your route of placing yours on the county's Publication scheme -- would it
be at all possible for you to send me the text of that insertion for your
SMR/HER?  Our FoI people are interested, but are reluctant to put ours on
the scheme until AFTER 1 Jan 2005.  If you are able to send the text at your
earliest convenience I might be able to customize it for our database and
get it included in the next draft.

do you happen to know if this is being discussed at next HER forum or at
ALGAO HER Committee -- don't think I've seen it on any agenda.

thanks in anticipation,
Susan

-----Original Message-----
From: Emma Jones [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 06 October 2004 13:52
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information Act


Dear all, as I understand it....

In general, the spirit of FOI is to provide the public with an opportunity
to find out what publicly funded bodies do, and how they do it.  The act
aims to make these bodies more accountable.  The act is not designed to get
in the way of the things that we currently do on a daily basis.

The message from our legal dept. is as follows:

   Our HER is included in our local authority Publication Scheme, this
   means the authority has a legal obligation to make the information
   available during the times advertised in the Publication Scheme.  The
   publication scheme states that charges may be made for commercial
   enquiries.  Inclusion in the Scheme means that the HER information is
   not subject to FOI enquiries as our resource is "reasonably accessible".
   Charging for commercial searches: We offer a search service at our own
   discretion.  There is no statutory requirement to provide this service,
   therefore we can charge a reasonable fee and this right is not affected
   by FOI.
   However, we are affected by FOI in other areas of our work.  We may be
   questioned on enquiries we have responded to or decisions we have taken
   in the past ie. what we said, when and why.  The implication is that we
   need to have filed paperwork efficiently as we have only 20 working days
   to complete a request (a holding letter does not stop the clock!).
   The restrictions on charging are not final yet.  However, we will be
   able to charge for a percentage of the total cost (staff time taken to
   find information) and a certain amount for photocopying etc.  The
   current example is 10% staff time and 100% of copying costs up to a
   maximum of 600.00.  This is a complicated area and I am waiting for our
   legal people to explain this to me again.  I believe that at a certain
   point (can't remember which point) we explain the charges to the
   enquirer, if they say to proceed we wait for the money to arrive before
   proceeding, if they refuse we are not obliged to complete the request
   under FOI.

   A few things to think about, or go and find out about :

   Your LA Publication Scheme
   Your LA asset register
   20 days to respond to an FOI enquiry (the enquiry does not have to say
   FOI, but it does have to be in writing)
   The person who receives the request is responsible for ensuring the
   request is fulfilled, even if the information requested is held a
   colleague in another department!

I will add to this email once I have had clarification from our legal rep.

Emma Jones


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