Freedom of information
As a public body ARB is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000. One of the key requirements of the Act is that public authorities such as ARB must produce a publication scheme that sets out information that we make available to the public. In 2016 we reviewed the scheme, which included looking at what we publish on our website. Updates were made and the revised publication scheme can be viewed here. Whilst most of the information we publish is current, there are cases when it is necessary to publish information retrospectively. Also, information is not available indefinitely, rather our approach is a practical one focussed on providing that which is relevant and up to date.
ARB is committed to operating in a way which is transparent and accountable and so, where possible, we make information available to the public. Due to our regulatory role certain information, such as that regarding professional conduct cases which are under investigation, cannot be made public. The Information Commissioner’s Office provides more detailed guidance on which information should, and should not, be published in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.
In cases where stakeholders cannot find information they require, they can make requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Data Protection Act (DPA). ARB received 32 requests for information under FOIA and DPA in 2016, compared to 42 in 2015.
ARB is legally required to respond to all FOIA requests within 20 working days (or 40 working days in relation to subject access requests under DPA). All requests were responded to within the statutory timescale.
One individual raised a complaint with the Information Commissioner after ARB refused to provide the information he sought. The Commissioner rejected that complaint, finding that ARB had correctly applied the proper statutory exemption under FOIA.
There were no data breaches reported to the Information Commissioner.