Frequently Asked Questions
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What are the Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations about?The Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005 ( SI 2005/1515) (the Regulations) came into force on 1 July 2005. The Regulations implement European Directive 2003/98/EC on the Re-use of Public sector Information. The Regulations are designed to help unlock the value held in public sector information and to allow re-use of these resources for the benefit of commercial exploitation. By allowing the private sector to re-use information that has been produced by the public sector, value may be added to products and services. In this way, we can help support and stimulate both the local Cumbrian economy and the national economy. The Regulations provide a statutory framework through which you can apply to re-use public sector information and are based upon the principles of fairness, transparency, non-discrimination and consistency of application. The Regulations are designed to complement the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2005 (EIRs). The Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations both provide a statutory public right of access to information held by Public Authorities subject to the application of legal exemptions in certain cases. However, although this legislation gives a right of access to publicly held information, they do not automatically give an applicant a right to re-use that information. The Regulations however are designed to enable an applicant to re-use public sector information.
What is meant by “re-use”?Information is generally produced by Cumbria County Council (CCC) as part of its statutory duty to carry out public functions. A re-use of that information will occur when that information is used for a purpose other than that for which it was originally produced. The Regulations do not require the Council to permit re-use of its documents. However, where we do permit a re-use to one party for a purpose which is outside the scope of our public function, the Regulations require us to consider requests from others in a fair and transparent manner. Where re-use is permitted by more than one party, this must be on the same terms and conditions for comparable categories of re-use.
What information will you allow me to re-use?Generally, CCC will permit re-use of all of the documents listed on our Publication Scheme (unless otherwise stated). If you would like to re-use a document which is not listed in our Publication Scheme, you can still apply to us and we will consider your application. Information which has been produced by CCC and which is already reasonably accessible to you. For example, a policy document which is published on our website (subject to CCC copyright). There are categories of document which are specifically excluded from the scope of the Regulations. To reflect the Regulations, CCC would not usually permit re-use of information falling within the following categories: Where the relevant intellectual property rights in the document are owned or controlled by a person or organisation other than CCC. However, if we refuse to allow re-use of a document which falls within this category, we will tell you who does own or control the intellectual property rights (where known to us) so that you can contact them direct. Examples of relevant intellectual property rights are copyright, performance rights and database rights. Where the document is exempt from disclosure under FOIA, EIRs, Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) or other legislation dealing with access to information. An exception to this rule is where section 21 of the FOIA applies - essentially this means that information is exempt from disclosure because it is already “reasonably accessible to the applicant”. For example, information published on our website or information which we have a statutory duty to disclose to you (other than by way of inspection). Documents that fall outside the scope of our public function. This covers those situations where we may produce documents that are not directly related to our core responsibilities, such as where they are optional commercial products competing in the open market. The Regulations do not apply in cases where citizens or companies have to prove a particular interest in the information in order to gain access to it. For example, information which would only be released in response to a subject access request under the DPA would not be available for re-use, due to this provision. Finally, the Regulations do not apply to a document unless it has been identified by CCC as being available for re-use.
What is an Information Asset Register and do you have one?An Information Asset Register (IAR) is a list of documents which have been identified as being available for re-use. The list will include both published and unpublished information. Currently, the Council is working on its Information Asset Register and when complete will be located within the Access to Information pages. Unless otherwise stated all documents held within our Publication Scheme are available for re-use subject to our standard implied licence terms and conditions.
Do I have to pay to re-use your information?In most circumstances material may be re-used without charge; however where CCC is requested to convert material or if there is a charge for a reasonable return on investment, a charge may be made. CCC may require you to contribute towards the cost of meeting your application for re-use by paying either a Nominal or the Full Charge. If you have been charged for access to the same information, for example, under a FOIA request, we will not make further charges in respect of the collection and production of the information. However, you may still be required to pay a reasonable return on our investment (see Charges and Fees).