FAQs - for the public

What is the Freedom of Information Act?

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives the public a general right to access information held by the University, as  a Public Body, subject to certain conditions and exemptions.

Who do I Contact for Advice and Information?

If you have any questions relating to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or handling freedom of information requests please contact Alice Mineyko, Compliance Officer (extn. 4055) or email FOI Officer@aston.ac.uk,

How do I access information?

There are two ways you can access information held by the University using the Freedom of Information Act. The first is via the Publication Scheme which lists the types of information the University makes available to the public as a matter of routine e.g. prospectuses, the Library catalogue and the minutes of some committees. To find out whether the University publishes the information you would like to access, have a look at the links to information on our Freedom of Information webpage. The second is by making a formal written request for access to information.

Is there any information which the University does not have to make available?

The Freedom of Information Act outlines some types of information which are exempt from disclosure. Generally the University is not required to disclose:

  • Information about living individuals the processing of which is covered by the Data Protection Act 1998.
  • Information that might jeopardize the health and safety of staff, students or the public.
  • Information that might prejudice the University's commercial interests.
  • Information that would prejudice the prevention or detection of crime or the prosecution of offenders.
  • Information concerning legal proceedings or investigations being carried out by the University that might lead to criminal or civil proceedings.
  • Information held under obligation of confidentiality.
  • Information that is published elsewhere or that is intended for publication at a later date (e.g. draft versions of documents, information subject to amendment or approval by the appropriate University body).

Can I access information about me held by the University?

Access to personal information is regulated by the Data Protection Act 1998. If you have any questions relating to information the University holds about you, contact the Data Protection Officer.

How do I make a Freedom of Information request?

You may submit a request for information in writing, preferably using a Freedom of Information Request Form. On receipt of a completed Freedom of Information Request Form, the University will inform you whether it holds the information in question and, if it does, subject to exemptions set out in the Act, supply that information to you within 20 working days.

Please help us to provide the information you require quickly and efficiently by describing it in as much detail as possible and by returning the completed Freedom of Information Request Form or a written request to:

Ms Alice Mineyko,
Compliance Officer,
Legal Services,Aston University,
B4 7ET or via email to FOI Officer@aston.ac.uk

If you have difficulty in identifying the precise information you require, or are unable to make the application in writing, please contact Alice Mineyko, Compliance Officer on 0121 204 4055 or by e-mail to FOI Officer@aston.ac.uk. We will provide information within 20 working days if we do no need to seek clarification on the specification of the information required.

Can the University charge for the information it provides?

Under the terms of the Act the University is entitled to charge a fee for providing information in response to an access to information request. The government has set a cost limit for public bodies and has published regulations on how the costs of dealing with a request should be calculated. If the anticipated cost of an access request exceeds £450, the University may decline to fulfil the request unless the requestor agrees to pay the total estimated cost or chooses to modify his/her enquiry. In cases where costs do not exceed the limit, the University may charge printing, photocopying and postage costs.

Can I make copies of the information I receive?

All University publications are subject to copyright protection. The Freedom of Information Act does not transfer copyright in any information supplied under it. You must, therefore, obtain permission before copying, redistributing or publishing all or part of any information provided in response to your request.

What do I do if I am not happy with the reply I receive?

If you are not happy with the response you receive you may ask the University to conduct an internal review. Requests for internal review should be addressed in writing to: the Alice Mineyko, Compliance Officer, Legal Services, Aston University, Birmingham, B4 7ET or to FOI Officer@aston.ac.uk. Receipt of the complaint will be acknowledged and a comprehensive reply provided within 14 working days.

If you are still dissatisfied, you have the right to complain to the Chief Financial Officer for review. Receipt of the complaint will be acknowledged and a comprehensive reply provided within 14 working days.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the University's internal review you may appeal to the Information Commissioner. You should address any appeals of this kind to: The Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

The Information Commissioner will then issue a ‘decision notice’ to the applicant and the University.