Policy and position statements:

BBSRC and Freedom of Information

Commitment to information access

BBSRC is committed to openness and transparency in the conduct of its operations and to the sharing of information with stakeholders.

BBSRC fully supports the aims and objectives of freedom of information and is committed to making information available wherever feasible.

BBSRC will:

Information access policies

This statement applies to all information held in BBSRC Office (i.e. all the information created, received and maintained by staff of BBSRC Office in the course of their work).

The statement has been formulated within the context of the BBSRC policy for implementing the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and the BBSRC Privacy Policy statement.

Our Information and Records Management Policy

We aim to deliver quality business information to support timely and effective decision making for planning, directing, controlling and reporting on its activities forming the corporate memory and enabling delivery of our strategic objectives. It will create the environment where:

BBSRC Information and Records Management Policy (PDF 111KB)

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Background

There are three pieces of information access legislation that apply to BBSRC. These are the Freedom of Information Act 2000 which provides a general right of access to information held by public authorities; the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 which provide a similar right of access but specific to environmental information; and the Data Protection Act 1998 which ensures organisations store and process personal data in the appropriate manner.

Freedom of Information Act 2000

The Freedom of Information (FoI) Act 2000 received Royal Assent on 30 November 2000 . It establishes a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, sets out exceptions to that right, and places a number of obligations on public authorities. The Act applies to a large number of public authorities, including Government Departments and Non Departmental Public Bodies such as BBSRC. Since January 2005 you are entitled, on making a request for information in writing to the Council (unless the information falls under one of the specific exemptions of the Act) to:

The Act provides a time limit for dealing with a request for information - that is, within 20 working days.

A fee may be charged for processing requests for information under the Act.

Freedom of Information Act 2000

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (the Regulations) are closely linked to the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Environmental information is interpreted very broadly and includes the state of elements of the environment, the state of human health and safety, conditions of human life, the food chain, cultural sites and built, and substances, energy, noise, radiation or waste affecting or likely to affect the state of the elements. Information relating to environmental information is considered exempt under the Freedom of Information Act, and can therefore be dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations.

Requests for information normally need to be processed within 20 working days, although this may be extended to 40 working days for complex or high volume requests.

Data Protection Act 1998

You have a statutory right of access (certain exemptions apply) to personal data about yourself under the Data Protection Act 1998. The right of access here is to personal data held on computer or on structured manual files, and you are entitled to be informed whether any personal data concerning yourself is being held by the "data controller" i.e. BBSRC, and if so:

You are also entitled to be given a copy of the information with any unintelligible terms explained and to be given any information available to the Council as to the source of the data. The Freedom of Information Act extends this right to access to personal data held on any type of file, with effect from 1 January 2005.

If you wish to apply for access to your personal data, known as a "subject access request", you should contact BBSRC in writing.

A request for access to personal data must be dealt with promptly and, in any event, within 40 working days of receipt of the request.

How do I go about getting information from BBSRC?

BBSRC already makes information widely available for example through publications, public events and the website. Details of research supported through BBSRC grant funding are provided through our awards database. Other obtainable information is also listed in the our Publication Scheme.

If you are still unable to find the information that you are after, you will need to contact us by e-mail or letter. This can be done via the contact details below.

When asking for information you will need to provide us with the following details:

A request template is available in the Downloads section of this page if you wish to print this out and send it to us.

What if I want to make a complaint?

If you have a complaint as to how BBSRC has handled a request for information, or anything relating to Freedom of Information, please refer to the BBSRC Complaints Procedure.

You should also be advised that you have the option of complaining to the Information Commissioner if you are still not satisfied with the outcome of an appeal submitted to BBSRC.