Publishing an information asset list

You have to publish a list of the main information you hold within your public task. This should include information that you already publish proactively and unpublished information.

If you already produce a publication scheme under FOIA or the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act, , it is likely that much of the information in the asset list will already be in the publication scheme, and so it may be possible to combine the two documents.

Dealing with requests for re-use

People who want to make a request for re-use must submit the request in writing, with their name and address for correspondence, and specify the information they want to re-use and the purpose they intend to use it for.

If you make your information available under the Open Government Licence (OGL) no request has to be made, but re-users must follow the terms of the OGL. 

When you receive a request to re-use information you must respond within 20 working days. You can extend this time if the information is extensive or the request raises complex issues, but you must inform the requester of this within the 20 day period.

You must permit re-use in response to a request, unless you are a library, museum or archive, in which case you can decide whether to permit re-use. Remember that RPSI does not apply to information that would be exempt from disclosure under information access legislation, and so you do not have to permit re-use of exempt information.

If you have not previously disclosed the information requested, then you should also deal with this as an access request under the appropriate legislation eg FOIA, EIR, the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act or the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations in order to decide whether the information is exempt. This will be the first stage of dealing with the request and you must go on to deal with the re-use request.  

You must make the information for re-use available in the format and language in which you hold it. If you don’t already hold it in an open and machine readable format with metadata, but it’s possible and appropriate to make it available in this way, then you should do so. ‘Machine readable’ means that the information is structured so that software can extract specific elements of the data. Open formats, such as CSV are preferable to proprietary formats such as XLS. The Government Service Design manual contains useful advice on appropriate formats for making information available.

For more information, read our guidance:

Charges

You can charge for permitting re-use, but with some important exceptions. You can only charge for the marginal costs of reproducing, providing and disseminating the information. For example, if you provide a copy of a dataset on disk for re-use, you could charge for the cost of the disk and postage. In many cases, however, these costs will be negligible, and if you are publishing the information on your website, you are unlikely to be able to make a charge. Also, under the Open Government Licence, information is made available for re-use free of charge.

You should note that if information is made available for re-use under the Open Government Licence it will be difficult to then make a charge at a later date. Therefore, it is important that you are clear about the basis upon which you are permitting re-use at the outset.

The exceptions to the default position of marginal cost concern public sector bodies required to generate revenue to cover:

  • a substantial part of the costs relating to their public task;
  • documents for which the public sector body is required to generate revenue to cover a substantial part of their costs;
  • libraries, museums and archives.

Regulation 15 of RPSI sets out how the charge should be calculated.

Licences

You may impose conditions on re-use but the conditions must be as open and non-restrictive as possible.

The easiest way to do this is to use the Open Government Licence. This allows re-use of public sector information without charge for any purpose, commercial or otherwise, with minimal conditions.

However, other licences may be appropriate in particular situations, including where there is a charge for re-use. The UK Government Licensing Framework includes other types of standard licences.

Generally speaking, you must not enter into exclusive licensing arrangements with a particular person or organisation, but there are some limited exceptions to this.