Section 8 of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2014 requires FOI bodies to prepare and publish a scheme concerning the publication of information by a public body.
Background to FOI Publication Scheme
Bodies subject to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Acts are required to publish as much information as possible in an open and accessible manner on a routine basis outside of FOI, having regard to the key principles of openness, transparency and accountability as set out in Sections 8.5 and 11.3 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 and having regard to the Code of Practice which was drawn up in accordance with Section 48 of the Act.
The Act requires that in preparing, reviewing or revising a publication scheme, an FOI body shall have regard to the public interest in:
- allowing public access to information held by the FOI body;
- the publication of reasons for decisions made by the FOI body; and
- publishing information of relevance or interest to the general public in relation to its activities and functions generally.
Under the Publication Scheme, each FOI body shall:
- Set out information to assist members of the public in their understanding of the body and its functions;
- Publish the information it holds grouped under the information headings set out in Section 3 below; and
- Explain the procedures to get access to information or to establish what information the body holds.
There will be circumstances where an FOI body may indicate in its Publication Scheme that a particular item is “not applicable” (“N/A”). These circumstances arise where:
- the body does not hold the type of records concerned;
- the body is only subject to FOI in part and the type of records listed in the scheme are exempt; or
- the information is exempt under one of the FOI Act exemptions or is prohibited by some other statute, licence or regulatory decision.
The Mental Health Commission’s (MHC) Publication Scheme has been prepared in accordance with Section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014. The scheme sets out information under six designated headings to assist members of the public in their understanding of the MHC and its core functions. These headings are set out hereunder. Each link leads to a web page where relevant information can be found in the category.