What a publication scheme is and why it has been developed
One of the aims of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is that public authorities should be clear and proactive about the information they will make public. To do this they must produce a publication scheme, setting out:
• The classes of information which they publish or intend to publish;
• The manner in which the information will be published
All Authorities were expected to revise their Publication Scheme by the end of December 2008, and to publish a scheme using a new model provided by the Information Commissioner, regulator for the Act.
The new Publication Scheme covers:
- Who we are and what we do
- What we spend and how we spend it
- What our priorities are and how we are performing
- How we make decisions
- Our policies and procedures
- Lists and registers
- The services we offer
Our Publication Scheme consists of information already published and held by the Authority or information which is to be published in the future. That means that all information in our publication scheme is either available for you on our website to download and print off or available in traditional document form. Information within the publication scheme is available free of charge - however we may charge for disbursements such as postage or printing. Some information which we hold may not be made public, for example information about national security or court records and personal data.
Purpose of the Publication Scheme
The purpose of the Publication Scheme is to make sure that a significant amount of information is available, without the need for a specific request. We intend to use our Publication Scheme to be proactive in the way we provide information and to develop a culture of greater openness.
The Scheme brings together the many different types of information available to the public in a structured way and provides details as to how it is obtained, thereby saving you time and effort.
Information Charging Policy
Much of the information contained in the Publication Scheme is available from the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service website and access to it is free of charge. If you want to receive a print-out of any information which is available on the website, you may be charged for postage and at the prevailing standard rate per sheet for printing. Where an item is only available in printed format, we may charge you postage and the cost of copying the document, at the prevailing standard rate per page. In some cases, no charge will be made for supplying print-outs of web-site information or copies of paper documents unless multiple copies are requested.
Leaflets and brochures giving general information/guidance/advice to the public are available free of charge. A small number of items which carry higher publication costs are separately priced. For example, "glossy" or other bound paper copies, a CD-ROM, video or other publication medium. In some cases a separate price may be charged because, in providing copies, the Authority is required to make royalty payments on copyright material. Where information on a register is available for inspection, this will usually be provided free of charge.
You will be advised of the cost (if any) of supplying copies of specific items of information under the Scheme upon request. In order to protect us there will be rules which govern multiple applications for information which are clearly trying to avoid the financial limits set by the Government. However, we will try to help you as much as possible to get the information you want.
What about Information not Listed in the Publication Scheme?
You have the right to request any information we hold, even it if is not available under the Publication Scheme. There may be charges for certain types of information.
We will try to make information available on request under our commitment to openness. If we do not provide the information you request, we will explain the reasons why (e.g. the provision of information would compromise national security, or infringe the Data Protection Act etc).
Complaints and Feedback
If you want to make any comments about this publication scheme, you require further assistance or need to make a complaint then initially this should be submitted via our main web contact form or in writing to:
Freedom of Information Officer
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority Headquarters
Tyne and Wear
If you are not satisfied with the assistance that you get from us or if we have not been able to resolve your complaint and you feel that a formal complaint needs to be made then this should be addressed to the office of the Information Commissioner. This is the organisation that ensure compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and deals with formal complaints.