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The Council and democracy Freedom of Information

Our publication scheme

Manchester City Council is committed to openness and transparency. This publication scheme reinforces that commitment by increasing the public’s awareness of the work undertaken within the Council and by its partners.

Promoting transparency in the way decisions are reached and providing clear information about the Council’s policies and processes aims to foster a spirit of trust with the public and other organisations and to encourage greater interest and participation in the democratic process.

Where information is not published through this scheme we promise to deal with individual requests for information on a timely basis and to provide advice and assistance if required.

What is freedom of information?

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoIA) came into force in two stages:-

  • in 2003 when the Council first adopted its Publication Scheme
  • in 2005 when the general right of access to recorded information held by public authorities came into effect.

This right of access applies to recorded information held by public authorities and also provides for access to environmental information falling within the scope of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs). Any person making a written request for information must be informed whether the public authority holds that information and be supplied with the information. This right is limited only by the procedural conditions and exemptions set out in the above legislation.

What is a publication scheme?

A Publication Scheme provides the public with a guide to the classes of information that the Council publishes or intends to publish routinely.

This Scheme applies to all the information the Council publishes whether this is available in printed or electronic form and incorporates the information made publicly available on the Council’s website as well as information in for example, public registers which may only be available by way of inspection.

Since 2009 the Council has adopted the Information Commissioner’s Model Publication Scheme. By adopting the Model Scheme the Council is committing to:

  • proactively publish or otherwise make available as a matter of routine, the information falling within the classifications outlined in its’ Guide to Information, including environmental information;
  • signpost the information held by the Council falling within the classifications below
  • produce and publish the methods by which the specific information is made routinely available so that it can be easily identified and accessed by members of the public;
  • review and update on a regular basis the information the Council makes available under this scheme;
  • produce a schedule of any fees charged for access to information  which is proactively made available;
  • publicise this scheme;
  • publish any dataset that has been requested, and any updated versions the Council holds, unless we are satisfied that it is not appropriate to do so; to publish the dataset, where reasonably practicable, in an electronic form that is capable of re-use; and, if any information in the dataset is a relevant copyright work and the Council is the only owner, to make the information available for re-use under a specified licence
  • ensure applicants are informed whether a specified licence for the re-use for copyrighted material owned by the Council involves a charge and where requested, how the charge has been calculated 

 What are classes of information?

 In line with the Information Commissioner’s  model, our Publication Scheme contains 7 classes of information:-

  • Who we are and what we do
  • What we spend and how we spend it
  • What our priorities are and how we are doing
  • How we make decisions
  • Our policies and procedures
  • Lists and registers
  • The services we offer

You can download information about our publication scheme 

The above classes of information will not generally include:

  • Information the disclosure of which is prevented by law, or exempt under the Freedom of Information Act, or is otherwise properly considered to be protected from disclosure. 
  • Information in draft form.
  • Information that is no longer readily available as it is contained in files that have been placed in archive storage, or is difficult to access for similar reasons.

Some information may only be available in hard copy and some information will only be available for inspection. Where this is the case, this will be made clear on the Council’s website.

Charges which may be made for information published under this scheme

The purpose of this scheme is to make the maximum amount of information readily available at minimum inconvenience and cost to the public. Charges made for routinely published material will be justified and transparent and kept to a minimum.

Material which is published and accessed on the website can be downloaded free of charge unless the information is subject to a charging regime specified by legislation.

Charges may be made for actual disbursements such as:-

  • Photocopying/printing
  • Postage and packaging
  • The cost directly incurred as a result of viewing information

Charges may also be made for information provided under this scheme where they are legally authorised, they are in all the circumstances, including the general principles of the right of access to information held by public authorities, justified and are in accordance with a published schedule or schedules of fees which is readily available to the public.

Charges may also be made for making datasets (or parts of datasets) that are relevant copyright works available for re-use. These charges will be in accordance with either regulations made under section 11B of the Freedom of Information Act or, other enactments.

If a charge is to be made, confirmation of the payment due will be given before the information is provided. Payment may be requested prior to provision of the information.

How do I request additional information not covered by this scheme?

The Council includes as much information in the Publication Scheme as it can.

If you cannot find what you are looking for you can make a request for the information that is not published under this scheme. Your request should be made in writing and will be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

Who do I contact?

For information concerning the Scheme or if you wish to make a written request for other information please contact the Democratic Services Legal Team.


Making a complaint, suggestion or compliment

If you experience any difficulty obtaining the information listed in the Council’s Guide or, are not satisfied with the Council’s response to a request for information you may make a complaint to the address below:-

Democratic Services Legal Team
Legal Services
PO Box 532
Town Hall
M60 2LA


If after going through the Council’s formal complaint and appeals system you are still not satisfied then you may complain directly to the Information Commissioner whose address is:-

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

The Council aims to make its Publication Scheme as user friendly as possible and welcomes your feedback. If you have any suggestions or compliments, we need to know so that we can improve our service to you.

Re-use of published information

Unless covered by the terms of a specified licence, the Council’s express permission must be obtained before information published under this Scheme may be re-used. Requests for permission should be addressed to the Democratic Services Legal Team.

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