Procurement and contracting with private companies/external parties - is this information confidential and therefore exempt?
As the University is a public authority and therefore subject to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 ANY information provided to the University by external parties becomes subject to the Act (once it has been provided the University 'holds' it). External parties who are providing us with information must be advised that the University is subject to the Act and may be required to disclose information provided by them, and it is therefore in their best interests to specifically advise the University if they consider any of the information which they are providing us with to be exempt from disclosure under the Act. Blanket exemptions are not allowed, the external party must identify which information they consider to be exempt and provide a schedule of exemptions clearly stating which sentences/clauses/paragraphs are exempt and providing an explanation as to why this is the case. The period of time which they consider this information to be exempt should also be included.
If the University receives a request for information which includes information provided by external/third parties it does not mean that the University will automatically disclose this information, but external parties will assist Governance Services in making decisions about what information is exempt if they provide this detail up front and make it clear as part of the information they are providing what they consider to be exempt.
Please contact Governance Services should you require and further advice and guidance.
8.4.1 Including disclosure provisions in the procurement documentation
8.4.9 Inclusion of disclosure provisions in contracts
What about teaching materials for a course with fees?
The public will generally not be given teaching materials that our students have to pay for through their tuition fees. As with all FOI exemptions each request will have to be dealt with on a case by case basis and will depend on exactly what is asked. If you think you, or the University, has received a request that you feel may contain a request for exempt information please contact Governance Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if a student asks for forthcoming exam questions or answers?
Information on upcoming exam questions and answers will be exempt for students and the public. As with all FOI exemptions each request will have to be dealt with on a case by case basis and will depend on exactly what is asked. If you think you have received a request that you feel may contain a request for exempt information please contact Governance Services via email@example.com.
What is the Public Interest Test?
The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 provides that the University may be required to disclose information, even where an exemption applies.
The Public Interest Test requires the University to consider whether the public interest in withholding the exempt information, outweighs the public interest in releasing it.
Will we have to give out information about staff, for example which staff members perform certain experiments?
We will not give out specific staff details of this nature. If the information requested constitutes personal data as defined by section 1(1) of the Data Protection Act 1998 ("data which relate to a living individual who can be identified from those data") and its disclosure would breach the first data protection principle ("personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully") and is therefore exempt from disclosure. If you receive a request asking for this type of details please contact Governance Services via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will we have to give out details about our computing firewalls, building plans, security procedures and other security measures?
No, this type of information will generally be withheld under an exemption. But please contact Governance Services (the Senior Governance Officer (Records Manager)) if you receive a request for this type of information as we will have to look at each request on a case by case basis.
What do I do if someone requests information on a research project I've been working on?
The Act has an exemption clause in s27(2) for research programmes intended for future publication. The parameters of this exemption are very strict; the research must be part of a funded programme and must have a start and end date. As with all FOI exemptions each request will have to be dealt with on a case by case basis and will depend on exactly what is asked.
If you think you have received a request that you feel may contain a request for exempt information please contact Governance Services (the Senior Governance Officer (Records Manager)) or write to us at email@example.com.