Freedom of Information and the
Publication Scheme

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 was implemented on 1 January 2005. The Act aims to make organisations like the police service more accountable to the public, giving a better understanding of how public authorities carry out their duties, make their decisions and spend public money.

Under the FOIA, public authorities have a duty to adopt and maintain a Publication Scheme.

The Information Commissioner has introduced a new Model Publication Scheme which has been applied to all public authorities from 1 January 2009.

Definition document for the Model Publication Scheme for police forces

The Model Scheme includes a commitment from the public authority to:

  • Proactively publish or otherwise make available as a matter of routine information, including environmental information, which is held by the authority and falls within the classifications below.

  • Specify the information held by the authority that falls within the classifications below.

  • Proactively publish or otherwise make available, as a matter of routine, information in line with the statements contained within this scheme.

  • Produce and publish the methods by which the specific information is routinely made available so it can be easily identified and accessed by members of the public.

  • Review and update on a regular basis the information the authority makes available under this scheme.

  • Produce a schedule of any fees charged for access to information which is made available proactively.

  • Make this Publication Scheme available to the public.

The Information Commissioner has also published a series of definition documents specific to each public sector.

This document provides guidance to police forces as to the type of information they should consider publishing. Some police forces may not hold all the information listed in the guidance and there is no obligation under the new scheme to create information that is not already held. This may lead to variations in published information between forces.