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Protection Of Freedoms Bill Recieves Royal Assent

Today, the Protection of Freedoms Bill has become law. So far, so what?

Well, Part 6 of the Act relates to FOI and DPA. Most of it relates to extending the powers of the Information Commissioner and is likely to be of little or no interest to you, but there is one bit a University ought to be paying attention to.
Section 106 of the new Bill relates to the release and publication of datasets held by public authorities. This effectively puts information that has been collected by researchers under the FOI Act for the first time. We are entitled to issue a licence for any re-use of the information and charge for it. This is a new area of law, so it’s going to take some time to work out exactly what it means for the HE sector, but we know it means change. It is certain to increase the number of requests from bodies wanting to process data for commercial purposes and it’s going to make it harder for us to say no.

What is meant by a dataset?

Well, it’s information obtained or recorded for the purpose of giving us information in connection with the provision of a service by us or carrying out of any other function of the University. It’s the raw or source data, not any interpreted data, and not an official statistic.

A requester can, within reason, dictate the format in which the information should be supplied to them, i.e. in a machine-readable form using open standards.

Are we in a position to supply requested information within 20 working days?


Posted in Data Protection Act, Freedom of Information.