What is the legal framework for a Publication Scheme?
Publication Schemes are a novel feature of the United Kingdom's legislation on access to information held by public authorities. Their purpose is to provide a means by which a public authority can make a significant amount of information routinely available, without waiting for someone to specifically request it.
Section 19(2) of the Act sets out the requirements for a Publication Scheme as follows.
A Publication Scheme must:
- specify classes of information that the public authority published or intends to publish;
- specify the manner in which information of each class is, or is intended to be, published;
- specify whether the material is, or intends to be, available to the public free of charge or on payment.
Section 19(3) states that "in adopting or reviewing a Publication Scheme, a public authority shall have regard to the public interest in allowing public access to information held by the authority and in the publication of reasons for decisions made by the public authority".
Section 19(1) provides that it shall be the duty of every public authority to adopt and maintain a publication scheme, to publish information in accordance with its scheme and, from time to time, to review its publication scheme.