Dataset provisions enter into force 1 September

The ICO has published guidance on the provisions regarding datasets that are added to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 from 1 September. The guidance explains to public authorities what their new duties are. Public authorities now have to provide datasets in response to requests and make them available under a publication scheme. However, there are factors that can affect whether it is reasonably practicable to provide the dataset, for example cost or time involved. Sometimes, disclosure may not be appropriate if personal information is involved. The ICO published earlier this year guidance on anonymisation of personal data.

Public authorities may charge a fee for making a dataset available for reuse. The fees regulations, published on 9 August, say that when charging, public authorities should establish standard fees. The ICO says that charging for re-use is not encouraged but can be justified in some situations.

The government has also published a Code of Practice on datasets.