What is the publication scheme?
Our publication scheme outlines the information we routinely publish. The purpose of our publication scheme is to:
- Develop a culture of greater openness that provides greater transparency and accountability
- Provide the public with a single point of reference for published information or data that is due for publication
- Provide greater accessibility to information about the council's services, the functions it undertakes and the decisions it makes
- Publish information that is of high public interest, reducing the need for members of the public to submit a Freedom of Information request
The council's publication scheme:
- Provides seven classes of information that the council publishes or intends to publish
- Identifies the manner in which the information is available
- Confirms whether the material is available free or provided for a small charge
Classes of information
Our publication scheme has 7 classes of information:
- Who we are and what we do
- What we spend and how we are doing
- What are our priorities and how are we doing
- How we make decisions
- Our policies and procedures
- Lists and registers
- The services we offer
About the scheme
As a council we are not always able to disclose every document we hold.
In some but not all cases, it may be necessary for us to limit the availability of the information we publish in each class. This is because there are statutory exemptions that we must observe when processing information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and the Data Protection Act 1998.
As a service user it is important for you to note that we do not:
- Create information to satisfy individual requests. The information we create is for public use
- Publish information that is available by public inspection for example, public registers such as planning or licence registers. We advise you to contact the relevant service area to make inspection arrangements
- Publish information where:
- Data is genuinely regarded as personal data or where data has been provided to us in confidence, for example, housing / anti-social behaviour complaints
- It would prejudice the commercial interests of the council or any other organisation that the council works in partnership with
- The publication would endanger the health and safety and security of individuals or an organisation(s)
- It is prohibited by law or a Court Order as this would constitute a contempt of court. Information in relation to ongoing criminal or civil proceedings is also exempt
- The information would adversely affect the operations of the council or other organisations. For example, this may include confidential briefings to directors and senior staff, details of ongoing negotiations and draft plans, policies and reports unless they are intended to be subject to public consultation before being finalised
In most, but not all cases, only the most recent versions of a document will be published or made available on the council website. Draft documents are not published but where they are subject to approval they may be delayed from publication.
Limitations of the publication scheme
The following points must be considered when referring to the council's publication scheme:
- Information is only created for public use
- Where a document is produced on a periodic basis, in some cases only the most recent version will be available
- Where a document must go through a formal approval process (for example approved by councillors or officers under a formal decision making process) only the final version will be available. All drafts and version controls are excluded from the scheme
- Information in draft format maybe subject to approval and therefore may be delayed from publication
The publication scheme only holds current information unless otherwise stated. Once information ceases to be current it is either superseded and replaced with more up to date information or in some cases sent to the Tyne and Wear Archives for long term preservation.
The council has a retention policy in place to make sure we only keep information that has business value. Any information that has reached its retention period (either set by law or best practice) is likely to have been disposed.
The council does not hold historical records. Requests for this information should be sent to the Tyne and Wear Archives in Newcastle:
Tyne and Wear Archives (TWAS)
Newcastle upon Tyne
Phone: 0191 277 2245 or 0191 277 2246
Fax: 0191 230 2614
Charges and inspection
Most of the information in the publication scheme is available free of charge but there are some exceptions to this rule.
If a charge applies it is likely to be stated in the publication scheme. The council reserves the right to make a reasonable charge where providing hard copies, CD ROMs, multiple print outs, extensive photocopying and postage costs are seen as excessive. We will tell you about any charges well in advance. In some cases an inspection of the council's information may be available but this will need to be organised with the relevant team.
The information supplied to you in the publication scheme or by a Freedom of Information request is protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 unless otherwise stated.
You are free to use the information supplied to you for your own purposes, including non-commercial research and news reporting, but any re-use of the information for commercial publication requires the permission of the council as the copyright holder.
The council will either grant a standard re-use licence that sets out the conditions of how the data can be re-used or will issue a fee licence that stipulates the percentage of commission to be paid based on the commercial gain from the information used.
For the re-use of third party information, you will need to seek permission from the copyright holders.
Feedback and Suggestions
We are committed to producing a publication scheme that is informative and accessible to all members.
If you have any suggestions about how we could improve our publication scheme, please contact:
Information Governance Team
South Tyneside Council
Town Hall and Civic Buildings
Westoe Road, South Shields
Tyne and Wear, NE33 2RL
Phone: 0191 424 6538/6539
Users should understand that this scheme may not always be accurate. We will try to keep the content of the scheme as up to date as possible.