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Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (“the Act”) and the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (“the Regulations”) provide a general statutory right of access to information held by or on behalf of public authorities (including Regional Transport Partnerships). Any person who makes a request to SPT for information is entitled to receive that information, subject to certain limited conditions and exemptions.

The Partnership’s Freedom of information (FOI) policy affirms SPT’s commitment to the principles underlying the Act and Regulations and undertakes that SPT will conduct its business in accordance with the Codes of Practice published by the Scottish Ministers under the Act. The policy applies to all employees and members of the Partnership and provides that the Partnership Secretary is responsible for ensuring compliance.

Freedom of information policy

Introduction

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (“FOISA”) and the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (“EISR”) provide a general statutory right of access to information held by SPT, subject to certain limited conditions and exemptions.  The freedom of information legislation also imposes certain duties on SPT as to the management of its records and the preparation and maintenance of a Publication Scheme setting out information which it makes routinely available and which can be quickly and easily accessed.

The Scottish Ministers have published codes of practice under FOISA, providing best practice guidance to public authorities on discharging their freedom of information and environmental information functions under the Act:

–     Section 60 Code of Practice on Discharge of Functions.

–     Section 61 Code of Practice on Records Management.

Policy Statement

SPT is committed to the principles underlying FOISA and EISR and undertakes:

–     to conduct its business in accordance with the relevant Codes of Practice and in such a way as to promote openness and accountability, thereby maximising public trust in the workings of SPT;

–     to take into account customer needs in presenting information;

–     to maximise the publication of information through SPT’s Publication Scheme;

–     to respect personal privacy in accordance with the principles set out in FOISA, EISR and the Data Protection Act 1998;

–     to assist people in exercising their rights of access to information held by the Partnership; and

–     to monitor, review and improve compliance with FOISA and EISR.

Scope of the Policy

This policy is applicable to all recorded information of any age held by SPT within the definition contained in the FOISA and EISR.

This policy applies to all employees and members of the Partnership.

Roles and Responsibilities

  1. The Partnership has a responsibility to make its information available in accordance with FOISA and EISR. Responsibility for ensuring compliance with this policy lies with the Secretary of the Partnership.
  1. The Partnership’s Freedom of Information Officer has day-to-day responsibilities for coordinating the Partnership’s freedom of information function. These responsibilities include drawing up guidance for compliance with FOISA, EISR and Codes of Practice and promoting compliance with this policy.
  1. All staff, whether or not they create, receive or maintain any information, have responsibilities under FOISA and EISR. They must ensure that any request for information they may receive is handled in compliance with this policy and in accordance with SPT’s freedom of information guidelines.

Guidance for Implementation of the Policy

Guidance on the procedures necessary to comply with this policy is available on the Partnership’s intranet site.  This guidance includes:

–     how to recognise a FOISA or EISR request;

–     links to the Publication Scheme;

–     dealing with requests for information;

–     providing advice and assistance;

–     exemptions;

–     relationship with the Data Protection Act 1998; and

–     links to the Codes of Practice and the Scottish Information Commissioner’s website.

Charges

SPT will not charge for fulfilling requests for information which is not in the Publication Scheme, but reserves the right to invoke the provisions relating to excessive cost of compliance.  When a request is received where it is estimated that it will cost over £600 (or such other sum as may be prescribed by the Scottish Ministers) to retrieve and supply the information, SPT will, wherever possible, attempt to narrow the scope of the request and provide what it can within the threshold rather than refuse the request outright.

Publication scheme
How to access information not included in the Publication Scheme
As indicated, this scheme lists the information that is or will be routinely made available. However, members of the public have further rights that enable them to access information from Strathclyde Partnership for Transport.Since 1 January, 2005, members of the public have had the right to access information from Scottish Public Authorities (Section 1 of the Act). On 3 April, 2006, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport was designated as a Scottish Public Authority. Therefore, members of the public have the right to access information held by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport or held on behalf of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport subject to certain exceptions and conditions.The process for obtaining information under section 1 of the Act (Freedom of Information request) is different than obtaining information under the publication scheme.

Before submitting a Freedom of Information request you should check our website as Strathclyde Partnership for Transport places a large amount of information on the website.

However, if you wish to submit a Freedom of Information request, the request must be in writing or in some other permanent recordable form such as an e-mail. When submitting a request, please provide your full name in the body of any correspondence (i.e. your e-mail address will not be sufficient to provide your full name). The request should:

• Describe the information requested;
• State an address for correspondence;
• Preferably provide a contact number (in case we need to contact you to clarify the information requested);
• State the format in which you would wish to receive the information.

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport wishes to assist applicants and therefore we may contact you to clarify the exact nature of the information requested or to discuss the format of the information with you.

Our staff who are responsible for this scheme would be happy to assist you if you wish to contact them with any requests.

The request should be submitted by post to:

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport
Legal Services
131 St Vincent Street
Glasgow G2 5JF

or by e-mail to foi@spt.co.uk

Anyone wishing to request information under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 should also submit their request to the above postal or e-mail address, or telephone 0141-333-3787.