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Re-use of Public Sector Information FAQs

What does re-use of information mean?

Re-use means re-using public information for a purpose other than the purpose for which it was produced. This includes using the information for commercial purposes.

How do I make a request for re-use of information?

A valid request must:

  • Be in writing
  • State your name and contact details
  • Be precise and clearly specify the documents you want to re-use

All requests can be sent to by letter:
Records Management Team
Town Hall, Westoe Road
South Shields
Tyne and Wear
NE33 2RL

By email to:

By fax to: 0191 424 7002

Does the council have to respond to requests for re-use of information within a certain timescale?

Yes. All requests must be responded to within 20 working days unless there are exceptional circumstances. If we require more information we will contact you.

If a request is received outside of normal working hours it will be treated as being received the next working day.

Are documents always granted permission for re-use?

No. There are certain regulations that prevent re-use, where:

  • The content is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
  • The documents falls outside of the council's statutory functions
  • The document contains information in which intellectual property rights are owned by a third party. An example of this would be architectural drawings which have been commissioned by an architect who retains the copyright
  • The document does not exist
  • The document is held either by either Public Service Broadcasters (including the BBC), educational and research establishments or by cultural establishments such as libraries and museums

Will I be advised if my request is refused?

Yes. We will advise you in writing of the:

  • Reasons for refusal
  • Your rights to an internal review and appeal
  • The necessary time limits of reviews and appeals

Where refusal is due to intellectual property rights being owned by a third party, we will confirm, if we know:

  • Who owns the intellectual property rights and
  • Provide you with their names and contact details

Can I re-use the information in any way I choose?

No. We can impose conditions on re-use. These conditions will not necessarily restrict the way in which a document can be reused or restrict competition.

What happens if someone else wants to re-use the information?

We cannot discriminate between two applicants who request the same information, nor can we grant you exclusive rights for re-use of the document unless the arrangement is in the public interest.

If exclusive rights are granted, the document will be reviewed on a 3 year basis and details of the exclusive rights may be published on this website.

Do I have to pay for a re-use of information request?

We may make a charge but we will advise you on receipt of your request.

If charges are applied these will be to cover:

  • The re-use of information for commercial use
  • The costs of collecting, producing and supplying the material
  • The cost of the demand on the document(s) over the next three years

Any requests considered unreasonable will be refused.

Can I request the information to be in a particular format?

Yes, but this must be stipulated in your request and may incur an additional charge.

What happens if I am not happy with how the request has been handled?

You can ask for an internal review to be carried out. This request must be made in writing and received within 40 days of you receiving your decision notice.

What happens if I am still unhappy after the internal review?

You can write to the Office of Public Sector Information to have your case reviewed at:

OPSI Standards Team
Room 1.35
Admiralty Arch
North Side
The Mail

Phone: 020 7276 5217
Fax: 020 7276 5207

Or by accessing the OPSI website and completing an online form at:

Appeals to the OPSI must be lodged within 6 months following an internal review.

What if I'm dissatisfied with how the OPSI has dealt with my appeal?

You can complain to the Advisory Panel on Public Sector Information ( APPSI)

Your appeal must:

  • Be in writing
  • State the nature of your appeal
  • Include copies of decision notices from the council and OPSI

Appeals to the APPSI must be lodged 28 days from your date of notification from OPSI.

You will need to contact:

Advisory Panel on Public Sector Information
1.35 Admiralty Arch
The Mall
Phone: 020 7276 5216
Fax: 020 7276 5207

How do I find further information about the Directive?

Further guidance is available on the following web sites:

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