Greater Birmingham & Solihull Institute of Technology Publication Scheme
This publication scheme is in the form prepared and approved by the Information Commissioner.
This publication scheme commits Greater Birmingham & Solihull Institute of Technology (the ‘Company’) to make information available to the public as part of its normal business activities. The information covered is included in the classes of information mentioned below, where this information is held by the Company.
The scheme commits the Company to:
- Actively publish or otherwise make available as a matter of routine, information, including environmental information, which is held by the Company and falls within the classifications
- Specify the information which is held by the Company and falls within the classifications
- Actively publish or otherwise make available as a matter of routine, information described in this scheme.
- Publish the methods by which information is routinely made available so that it can be easily identified and accessed by members of the
- Review and update on a regular basis the information the Company makes available under this scheme.
- Produce a schedule of any fees charged for access to information which is made
- Make this publication scheme available to the
Classes of Information:
The scheme is arranged into the following classes:
Who we are and what we do: Organisational information, locations and contacts, constitutional and legal governance.
What we spend and how we spend it: Financial information relating to projected and actual income and expenditure, tendering, procurement and contracts.
What our priorities are and how we are doing: Strategy and performance information, plans, assessments, inspections and reviews.
How we make decisions: Policy proposals and decisions. Decision-making processes, internal criteria and procedures, consultations.
Our policies and procedures: Current written protocols for delivering our functions and responsibilities.
Lists and Registers: Information held in registers required by law and other lists and registers relating to the functions of the Company.
The services we offer: Advice and guidance, booklets and leaflets, transactions and media releases. A description of the services offered.
The classes of information will not generally include:
- Information which the Company does not hold;
- Information the disclosure of which is prevented by law, or exempt under one of the Freedom of Information Act (‘FOIA’) exemptions or Environmental Information Regulations exceptions, or is otherwise properly considered to be protected from
- Information provided by the Company to an external website which is readily and publicly available;
- Information in draft form;
- Information which is archived, out of date or otherwise inaccessible;
- Information which would be impractical or resource-intensive to prepare in a format for routine release.
Refusal of Requests
A request may be refused if it is deemed to fall within the following categories:
- It would cost too much or take too much staff time to deal with the
- The request is
- The request repeats a previous request from the same
- Personal data if releasing it would be contrary to the Data Protection
- Exempt under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
Exemptions are determined by applying a public interest test. This means that consideration of the public interest arguments will be made before deciding whether to disclose the information. So, it may be necessary to disclose information in spite of an exemption, where it is in the public interest to do so.
If part or all of the request is being refused a written refusal notice will be issued. A refusal notice must be issued whether the Company is refusing to state whether the information is held or confirming that the information is held but the request is being refused.
Publishing datasets for re-use
The Company will publish under their publication scheme any dataset they hold that has been requested, together with any updated versions, unless it is satisfied that it is not appropriate to do so. So far as reasonably practicable, the Company will publish it in an electronic form that is capable of re- use.
If the dataset or any part of it is a relevant copyright work and the Company is the only owner, the Company will make it available for re-use under the terms of a specified licence. Datasets in which the Crown owns the copyright or the database rights are not relevant copyright works.
The Datasets Code of Practice recommends that the Company make datasets available for re-use under the Open Government Licence. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government- licence/version/3/
The term ‘dataset’ is defined in section 11(5) of FOIA. The terms ‘relevant copyright work’ and ‘specified licence’ are defined in section 19(8) of the FOI Act. The Information Commissioner’s Office has published guidance on the dataset provisions in FOIA. https://ico.org.uk/media/for- organisations/documents/1151/datasets-foi-guidance.pdf This explains what is meant by ‘not appropriate’ and ‘capable of re-use’.
The method by which information published under this scheme will be made available
The Company will indicate clearly to the public what information is covered by this scheme and how it can be obtained.
Where it is within the capability of the Company, information specified in this scheme will be provided on its website. Where it is impractical to make information available on its website or when an individual does not wish to access the information by the website, the Company will indicate how information can be obtained by other means and provide it by those means.
In exceptional circumstances some information may be available only by viewing in person. Where this manner is specified, contact details will be provided. An appointment to view the information will be arranged within a reasonable timescale.
Information will be provided in the language in which it is held or in such other language that is legally required. Where the Company is legally required to translate any information, it will do so.
Obligations under disability and discrimination legislation and any other legislation to provide information in other forms and formats will be adhered to when providing information in accordance with this scheme.
The Company holds a register, which identifies what information has been requested and the action taken to supply the information requested. The register contains the following details:
- Date of Request
- Name and Company of Requester
- Brief Description of Information requested
- Deadline and reminder date
- Fee Charged; and
- Reason for NOT supplying the information
Charges which may be made for information published under this scheme
The purpose of this scheme is to make the maximum amount of information readily available at minimum inconvenience and cost to the public. Charges made by the Company for routinely published material will be justified and transparent and kept to a minimum.
Material which is published and accessed on the Company’s website will be provided free of charge. Charges may be made for information subject to a charging regime specified by Parliament.
Charges may be made for actual disbursements incurred such as:
- Postage and packaging
- Costs directly incurred as a result of viewing information
- For information produced commercially, for example, a book, map or similar publication that you intend to sell and would not otherwise have
Charges may also be made for information provided under this scheme where they are legally authorised, they are in all the circumstances, including the general principles of the right of access to information held by public authorities, justified and are in accordance with a published schedule or schedules of fees which is readily available to the public.
Charges may also be made for making datasets (or parts of datasets) that are relevant copyright works available for re-use. These charges will be in accordance with either regulations made under section 11B of the Freedom of Information Act or other enactments.
If a charge is to be made, confirmation of the payment due will be given before the information is provided. Payment may be requested prior to provision of the information. You can find further details on charges we make for information on our Publication Charges Page – pages 14-15 of this document.
Responsible Officer – Publication Scheme [Freedom of Information]
The Executive Director IoT is responsible for the Scheme on behalf of Greater Birmingham & Solihull Institute of Technology. To request information available through our Publication Scheme, please contact by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively, in writing to: –
Executive Director IoT (Freedom of Information)
c/o Solihull College & University Centre
Blossomfield Road Solihull
Information not covered in the Company’s Publication Scheme
Information held by the Company that is not published under this scheme can be requested in writing. The provision of that information will be considered in accordance with the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. A fee may be changed which will be notified to you. You can find further details on charges we make for information not covered in the Company’s Publication Scheme on our Fees Guidance Page – starting on page 12 of this document.
Once it has received the fee, (if applicable), the Company must respond to requests within 20 working days by: –
- Confirming whether it holds the information requested, and
- Either providing a copy or summary of the information, or arranging for the requester to inspect the information;
- Or giving reasons why it has withheld the
Applications for information can be made by email: email@example.com, or alternatively, in writing to: –
Executive Director IoT (Freedom of Information)
c/o Solihull College & University Centre
Blossomfield Road Solihull
Non-Compliance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000
The IoT Manager will notify the Chair of the Board in the event of non-compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 occurring and they should be informed of remedial action planned and taken.
It is important that this Publication Scheme meets your needs. If you find the Publication Scheme difficult to understand, please let us know. We also welcome suggestions as to how our Publication Scheme might be improved.
Any questions, comments or complaints about this Publication Scheme should be made by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or alternatively, in writing to:-
IoT Manager (Freedom of Information)
c/o Solihull College & University Centre
Blossomfield Road Solihull
If we are unable to resolve any complaint, you can complain to the Information Commissioner, the independent body who oversees the FOIA:
Information Commissioner’s Office Wycliffe House
Water Lane Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF
More information about the FOIA is available of the Information Commissioner’s website at: www.ico.org.uk.
Organisational information, locations and contacts, constitutional and legal governance.
Financial information relating to projected and actual income and expenditure, tendering, procurement and contracts.
Strategy and performance information, plans, assessments, inspections and reviews.
Policy proposals and decisions. Decision making processes, internal criteria and procedures, consultations
Current written protocols for delivering our functions and responsibilities.
Lists and registers.
Information held in registers required by law and other lists and registers relating to the functions of the authority.
Advice and guidance, booklets and leaflets, transactions and media releases. A description of the services offered.
Who we are and what we do
|Organisational information, structures, locations and contacts|
|Greater Birmingham & Solihull Institute of Technology was established as a Company Limited by Guarantee in September 2019.
The Articles of Association are publicly available on Companies House
|2||Locations and contacts|| https://www.gbsiot.ac.uk
Details of the Companies’ staff (including senior managers) are available upon request. A full structure chart is not published on our website, but extracts can be supplied if you specify which departments within the Company you require.
The College Governance section of our website https://www.solihull.ac.uk/about-us/college-governance/ provides details of the Corporation structure, including terms of reference for each committee.
Full details of the College structure, including details of the main curriculum areas and services are available upon request, from the Clerk to the Corporation.
Full details about the organisation of the College, responsibility links, and Management Team Membership, are available upon request.
|3||Constitutional and legal governance.||The Company operates according to a license issued by the Department for Education for Institutes of Technology.
The Company’s object(s) are to promote the advancement of education and skills training including, but not limited to, through designing, developing and widening education and training opportunities aligned to skills needs of employers; the local, regional and national economy; and government priorities for technical education.
What we spend and how we spend it
|Financial information relating to projected and actual income and expenditure, procurement, contracts and financial audit
The College’s financial statements are available on Companies House (https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/12189062/) The financial statements provide information in response to questions listed below. However, if you require information that is not covered in the financial statements you can request this additionally by emailing email@example.com.
|1||Funding/income||Information on the sources of funding and income is available upon request.|
|2||Financial statements, budgets and variance reports||Financial information is in enough detail to allow the public to see where money is being spent, where the Company is or has been planning to spend it, and the difference between the two, is available upon request.
Revenue budgets and budgets for capital expenditure are available upon request.
|3||Financial audit reports||A summary report from the External Auditor is available upon request.|
|4||Capital Programme||Information on major plans for capital expenditure including any private finance initiative and public private partnership contracts is available upon request.|
|5||Financial regulations and procedures||The Financial Regulations set out the regulations for the preparation of budgets, budgetary control and accounting procedures, business planning and the control of College assets, and are available upon request.
The Financial Procedures set out the detailed procedures for purchasing and payments, collection of income, tendering, setting and monitoring budgets, and are available upon request.
|6||Staff pay and grading structures||Details of salaries for senior staff, which for the purpose of this document, means staff earning over £100,000 per annum and on the Senior Staff or equivalent level, are available upon request. Such salaries will be stated in bands of £10,000. Details of levels of pay, for more junior posts, will be identified by salary range, and are available upon request.
The ‘pay multiple’ – the ratio between the highest paid salary and the median average salary of the whole of the Company’s workforce – is available upon request.
|7||Staff allowances and expenses||Details of the allowances and expenses that can be claimed or incurred, including the total of the allowances and expenses paid to individual senior staff members by reference to categories, are available upon request.
Staff employed by the Company are seconded from Solihull College & University Centre; the College’s Expenses Procedure applies for these staff and is available at https://www.solihull.ac.uk/about-us/policies/
|8||Register of suppliers||The College does not have an approved list of suppliers.|
|9||Procurement and tender procedures and reports||Details of procedures used for the acquisition of goods and services, are available upon request.|
|10||Contracts||The College does not publish details of its commercial contracts.|
|11||Research funding||Details of research funding is available on request.|
What our priorities are and how we are doing
|Strategies and plans, performance indicators, audits, inspections and reviews for the current and previous three years.|
|1||Annual Report||The Companies financial statements are available at Companies House (https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/12189062)|
|2||Business plans||The Company’s business plans, are available upon request.|
|3||Privacy impact assessments (in full or summary format)||Available as appropriate.|
|4||External and internal audit; review information||Information relating to the annual monitoring and review process together with a statement of roles, responsibilities and authority of different bodies within the company institution involved in the programme approval and review is available upon request.|
|5||Corporate relations||Information relating to the Company’s links with employers and sponsors, in both the public and private sectors, and the development of learning programmes, is available upon request.|
|6||Government and regulatory reports||n/a|
How we make decisions
|Decision making processes and records of decisions – Information in this class is available at least for current year and previous three years.|
|1||Minutes of formal meetings where key decisions are made about the operation of the Company||Minutes are available on request,|
Our policies and procedures
|Current written protocols, policies and procedures for delivering our services and responsibilities – Information in this class is current information only|
|1||Policies and procedures for conducting Company business.||Codes of practice, memoranda of understanding, procedural rules, standing orders and similar information are available upon request.
The Company prefers to receive requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
|5||Procedures and policies relating to human resources||The full range of human resources policies and procedures such as generic terms and conditions of employment, collective bargaining and consultation with trade unions, grievance, disciplinary, harassment and bullying, public interest disclosure and staff development (such as induction, probation, appraisal, promotions) are available upon request.|
|6||Pay policy statement||The Company does not have a pay policy statement.|
|7||Procedures and policies relating to recruitment||Current vacancies are advertised through Solihull College & University Centre may be found here. https://www.solihull.ac.uk/jobs/|
|8||Codes of Conduct for members of
|The Company’s Code of Ethics and Conduct for members of
Directors is available on request
|9||Equality and Diversity policies; Equality Scheme||Staff comply with Solihull College & University Centre’s Equality Policy which is available here.|
|10||Health and Safety||Staff comply with Solihull College & University Centre’s Health and Safety Policy is available here.|
|11||Estate management||Information relating to the Company’s disposal policy, estates strategy and plan, facilities management policies, grounds and building maintenance, is available upon request.|
|12||Complaints policies and procedures||Complaints procedures, including those covering requests for information and operating the publication scheme, are available upon request.|
|13||Records management and personal data policies||The Company’s Data Protection Policy is available on request.
Information security policies, records retention, destruction and archive policies, are available upon request.
|14||Research policy and strategy||Research policy and strategy is available on request.|
|16||Publicly funded research outputs and data||Publicly funded research outputs and data are available on request.|
|17||Charging regimes and policies||Details of charges made for the provision of information included in this publication scheme may be found on pages 12-15 of this document.
Details on fees imposed by the College for licensing the re- use of datasets, are available upon request.
Lists and registers
|Information contained only in current maintained lists and registers.|
|1||Any information the Company is currently legally required to hold in publicly available registers||n/a|
|2||Asset registers||Information relating to asset registers is available upon request.|
|3||Information asset register||n/a|
|4||CCTV||Details of the locations of any overt CCTV surveillance
cameras operated by or on behalf of the Company, are available upon request.
|5||Disclosure logs||A disclosure log, indicating the information what has been provided in response to requests is available upon request.|
|6||Any register of interests kept in the Company.||The register of interests for Directors is available on request.|
|7||Senior staff’s declaration of interests||All senior staff at the Company complete a management representation form annually, which includes the register of interest. This is available upon request.|
|8||Register of gifts and hospitality
provided to senior staff and Directors.
|The Company’s gifts and hospitality register is available upon request.|
The services we offer
|Information about the services we offer, including leaflets, guidance and newsletters|
|1||Information for students including:
· Course content
· Course fees
· Welfare and counselling services
· Sports and recreational facilities
· Advice and guidance
|Information relating to these areas is available on the Company Website and associated links to partner websites (www.gbsiot.ac.uk)
You can also email email@example.com For any other information relating to these areas that is not available through these routes can be obtained as a Freedom of Information request through firstname.lastname@example.org.
|2||Services for outside bodies||Information relating to services for outside bodies, is available upon request.|
|3||Health including medical services||Information relating to health including medical services, is available upon request.|
|4||Funding, such as grants and bursaries, available to students from the Company||Information relating to funding, such as grants and bursaries available to students from the Company, is available upon request.|
|5||Services for which the Company is entitled to recover a fee together with those fees||Information concerning Company fees and charges is available upon request.|
|7||Media releases||Press releases issued by the Company may be found here. www.gbsiot.ac.uk|
HOW TO CALCULATE FEES FOR ACCESS TO INFORMATION UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT.
This guidance is based on the Freedom of Information Act and the mandatory FOI Fees Regulations
– and information provided by the ICO, Information Commissioner’s Office https://ico.org.uk/
IS THE COMPANY ALLOWED TO CHARGE A FEE FOR PROVIDING INFORMATION UNDER FOI?
Under the Freedom of Information Act the Company is obliged to supply information within 20 working days. The Company is entitled to charge a fee for providing this information.
Whenever the Company charges a fee, however, it is legally required to issue a Fees Notice to the requester BEFORE it supplies the information so the requester can decide whether to continue with the request.
HOW TO MANAGE 20-DAY DEADLINES WHEN CHARGING FEES
The deadline of 20 working days is suspended from the date the Company sends out the Fees Notice until it receives the fee. When the Company receives the fee it should then start again to comply with the request. If the requester does not send the Company the fee within three months of the Fees Notice, the request has lapsed and the Company is no longer obliged to provide the information. For this reason it is very important that the Fees Notice is dated
WHAT IS THE COMPANY ALLOWED TO CHARGE?
There are two types of charges that may be made for providing information to the public: disbursements and fees.
With any request for information the Company is always allowed to charge for the cost of disbursements. Note that this means the cost of materials, not the time spent in doing the photocopying.
Disbursements include the costs of:
- complying with the obligation to supply the information in a specific format, such as on tape, on CD ROM, on paper;
- reproducing any document containing the information, such as by photocopying (at 10p per sheet where the copying is more than a few sheets);
- postage or other form of transmitting the information, such as a courier
FEES FOR SEARCHING FOR INFORMATION
The Company is required by law to calculate time spent responding to requests at no more than £25 per person per hour, regardless of who does the work.
The Company cannot charge a fee for the first two and a half days’ time it takes to search for, sort out, edit and redact (block out or erase) the information. This is judged to be £450 of time (18 hours).
However, if the Company reasonably believes that it will take more than 18 hours to respond to a request, it is entitled either to refuse the request altogether or bill for all the time taken to respond. This is at the discretion of the Vice Principal Planning and Resources, the Responsible Officer.
It is also at the discretion of the Vice Principal Planning and Resources, the Responsible Officer, as to whether the Company shall charge for very small fees.
FEES FOR DISCLOSURE WHERE THE COST OF COMPLIANCE EXCEEDS THE £450 LIMIT
If the Company does decide to provide the information and it will cost more than £450 to do this, the Company is allowed to charge the full cost of complying with the request, including the first £450 that it would not normally be allowed to charge.
Remember to send a Fees Notice and receive payment BEFORE beginning the work.
WHAT IS THE COMPANY NOT ALLOWED TO CHARGE FOR?
The Company is not allowed to charge for staff time spent:
- considering whether to apply an exemption;
- considering the public interest or prejudice;
- confirming or denying the information is held;
- supplying the applicant with the
The Company is not allowed to charge a standard flat-rate fee for requests.
Disbursements can be charged for any Freedom of Information Request (see above).
If it costs less than £450 in total (two and a half days searching, sorting, editing and redacting plus disbursements) to answer a single request, the Company may only charge for the disbursements.
If it costs more than £450 (two and a half days searching, sorting, editing and redacting plus disbursements) in total, the Company may use its discretion either:
- To provide the information and charge the full amount (i.e. £450+) or,
- To refuse the request
Whichever decision is made, the Company MUST tell the requester in writing.
SINGLE ENQUIRIES: IS IT WORTH RECORDING THE TIME SPENT COMPLYING WITH A MINOR REQUEST FOR INFORMATION?
Yes, it is, because if you receive subsequent requests from the same individual for the same or similar information within 60 working days of the first request the Company can treat it as a ‘repeated enquiry’ (see below) and may be able to charge a higher fee or refuse the request.
A repeated request is where the Company receives subsequent requests from the same individual for the same or similar information within 60 working days of the first request. If the Company gets a repeated request it can add the cost of each request together and either:
- refuse to comply with the request because it exceeds the limit of £450 or
- charge the full amount for providing the
The Company will issue a Fees Notice so the requester can decide whether to pursue the request.
“Campaign” enquiries fulfil each of the following criteria;
- there are two or more requests
- the requests must relate to any extent to the same or similar information
- they are received from different persons
- the requesters appear to be acting in concert or in pursuance of a campaign
- the requests are received within any period of 60 consecutive working
As with repeated requests, the rules for a single enquiry still apply, but the estimated cost of complying with any one of the requests is taken to be the total cost of complying with all of them. This is known as “aggregation of related requests”. This would normally mean that it would be too expensive to comply with the request; if in doubt, seek advice from email@example.com. The Company can make a separate disbursement charge for each person, but only ONE charge for locating, redacting and providing the information.
If a large group of people are making similar requests the Company should give serious consideration to publishing the information on a website to save on the cost of responding to each request. If it takes more than two and a half days to find and collate the information it is still at the Company’s discretion whether it does this, but if a large section of the public is requesting information it is good public relations to take all reasonable steps to provide as much information as possible, without damaging the legitimate interests of others.
WHAT IF THE COMPANY HAS OVERESTIMATED THE COST OF A REQUEST AND HAS ALREADY RECEIVED THE FEE?
If the Company has overestimated the cost of the request by more than £5 it must return the difference to the requester.
WHAT IF THE COMPANY UNDERESTIMATES THE COST OF A REQUEST?
If the Company has underestimated the cost it must use its discretion. If it is a small amount, it may choose not to ask for more money and continue to complete the request. If the Company does wish to make another charge, it must issue another Fees Notice. The Company must not carry out any more work until it has received the fee.
Much of the Company’s information is publicly available through its website or printed publications. From time to time requests are received for printed copies of other information. This information is generally provided for free, although the Company reserves the right to levy a charge for providing
information in paper copy, multiple copies, large numbers of documents or information which is archived and no longer on the Company’s website. Charges will be based on costs of retrieval, photocopying, printing and postage. Charges will be communicated to the requester at the time of the request and will be payable in advance.
Charges are made in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
Please note that other charges may apply for information not covered by the above legislation (such as specialist enquiries/services) and you will be informed about this as appropriate.
In all cases you will be notified of any charges before the information is provided. Please also note that most of this information can be inspected for free by prior appointment. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Last Reviewed July 2021