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Freedom of Information - Part 1

1. Legal requirement

1.1 Adopting a publication scheme is a requirement of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This Act promotes greater openness and accountability across the public sector by requiring all 'public authorities' to make information available proactively, through a publication scheme.

1.2 'Public authorities' are defined in the Act and include universities, further education colleges and sixth form colleges.

2. What is a publication scheme?

2.1 A publication scheme is a document which describes the information a public authority publishes, or intends to publish. In this context, 'publish' means to make information available, routinely. These descriptions are called 'classes of information'. The scheme is not a list of the actual publications, because this will change as new material is published or existing material revised. It is, however, the public authority's commitment to make available the information described.

2.2 A publication scheme must set out the classes, or categories, of information published. It must also make clear how the information described can be accessed and whether or not charges will be made.

3. The 'model' publication scheme for further education

3.1 St Helens College has adopted the model publication scheme developed for the Further Education sector and is therefore committed to publishing the information it describes

3.2 This model is designed for Further Education College across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The purpose of the model is to save institutions duplicating effort in producing individual schemes and to assist the public in accessing information from across the sector. However, to reflect the diversity in size and function of institution, a number of optional classes of information are included. As a result, models within the sector will vary slightly. Any optional classes relevant to us have been included in our scheme.

3.3 To assist with the development of the model, a number of institutions across the sector volunteered as pilots. Information about the pilot exercise is available from the JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) website at: www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name=mps_overview

4. Who we are

St Helens College is a Further Education College in the Northwest of England, which is a body incorporated by statute. The College has two campuses; the Town Centre Campus and the STEM Centre, Technology Campus. The College offers a broad range of provision which is responsible to local and individual needs and as funded by the Skills Funding Agency.. The College attracts the following primary funding streams:

    • Skills Funding Agency Funding (SFA)
    • Young People Learning Agency (YPLA)
    • Higher Education Funding Council Funding;
    • European Funding

The College also works with a wide variety of partners and has strong links with industry via employer links through the workforce development strategy.

Through a number of core values, the College is committed to:

    • Working in partnership with others to meet the needs of students and to ensure appropriate progression routes are available
    • Removing barriers to access to College and services
    • Equal opportunities and respect for the individual
    • Continually improving quality
    • Being a good employer
    • Providing value for money

5. Accessing information covered by the publication scheme

5.1 The classes of information we publish are described in the second part of the scheme (Part 2)

5.2 Next to each class the College has indicated the manner in which the information described will be available. It is also indicated whether charges apply to material in each class.

5.3 To request information available through our publication scheme, please contact:

Colette Lascelles
Director of Contracts and Data Analysis
St Helens College
Water Street
St Helens
Merseyside WA10 1PP

Tel: 01744 623423            E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

5.4 Please note that a publication scheme relates to 'published' information. Therefore, material covered has already been prepared in a format ready for distribution.

6. What about information not covered by the publication scheme?

6.1 From 1 January 2005 you will have the right, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, to request any information held by a public authority which it has not already made available through its publication scheme.

6.2 Requests will have to be made in writing and, in general, public authorities will have 20 working days to respond. The College may charge a fee, which will have to be calculated according to Fees Regulations. The College will not be required to release information to which an exemption in the Act legitimately applies. However, public authorities may be required to explain to the applicant why they are not releasing information and they may also have to justify this to the Information Commissioner.

7. Feedback

7.1 It is important that this publication scheme meets your needs. If you find the scheme difficult to understand, please let the College know. The College also welcomes suggestions as to how our scheme might be improved. Any questions, comments or complaints about this scheme should be sent in writing to the Publication Scheme Co-ordinator:

Julia Callaghan
Director of Customer Relations & Marketing
St Helens College
Water Street
St Helens
Merseyside WA10 1PP

7.2 If the College is unable to resolve any complaint, you can complain to the Information Commissioner, the independent body who oversees the Freedom of Information Act:

Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF

8. Further information

More information about the Freedom of Information Act is available on the Information Commissioner's website at: www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Please note that Scotland has its own Freedom of Information Act and Information Commissioner. For more information, please see the Scottish Executive's website at: www.scotland.gov.uk/government/foi

Freedom of Information - Part 2

1. Governance

Introduction
This section covers information relating to the way the institution is governed and how decisions are made. It includes information on the legal status of the institution, which individual member of staff or group within the organisation is responsible for specific functions and where they fit in the overall structure of the organisation. In some instances information from committee minutes will be exempt from disclosure where it contains personal information, information that may damage the commercial interests of the institution or that may threaten the health and safety of specific individuals.

 ClassDescriptionMannerFee
1.1 Legal framework

This class contains information relating to how the institution was established and its standing from the point of view of the law.

Legal status conferred by the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. The College is an exempt charity under the powers conferred by the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.

Includes:

The documents within this section are available from the College website or paper copies are available on request to the College. Free of charge from College website
1.2 How the institution is organised

This class contains information relating to how the individual units of the institution are organised and where each unit fits in the overall structure of the institution. 

Includes:

  • Organisational structure charts
  • Description of work/responsibilities of units
The documents within this section are available from the College website or paper copies are available on request from the College. Free of charge from College website
1.3 Information on the institutional context

This class includes information relating to the College's Strategy and Mission.

Includes:

  • The Corporation's Mission Statement
  • Relevant sections of the Corporation's Corporate Plan
  • Statement of the Corporation's quality assurance policies and procedures
  • The Corporation's learning and teaching strategy and periodic reviews of progress
The documents within this section are available from the College website or paper copies are available on request to the College. Free of charge from College website
1.4 Management structure This class contains information relating to how the institution's management structure is organised and the function and purpose of each part of the management structure.
Includes:
  • The current Members of the Corporation
  • Codes of Conduct for members of the Corporation
  • Standing Orders for the Corporation
  • Academic Board Constitution and Membership
  • Sub structures and Committees
  • Objectives on which the structure is based
  • Terms of reference, membership and mode of operation of all boards and committees in the formal structure
  • Code of practice for college elections and committee procedures (including within Standing Orders above)
  • Minutes and papers of Corporation meetings and Committee Meetings
  • Search committee details and procedures
The documents within this section are available from the Governance section of the College website or paper copies are available upon request to the College. Free of charge from College website

2. Financial Resources

Introduction
This section covers information on the institution's strategy and management of financial resources. The Finance Division provides accounting, procurement and contracting services, helping to make best use of resources and fulfilling statutory responsibilities. Information that may damage the institution's commercial interests will be excluded from publication.

 ClassDescriptionMannerFee
2.1 Finance This class includes information relating to financial policies and procedures:
Includes:
  • Budgets and accounts
  • Contracting
  • Goods and services
  • Insurance
  • Pensions
  • Remuneration of senior staff as published in annual accounts
  • Travel and subsistence
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
2.2 Resource planning This class includes information that defines how the college undertakes its planning and resource allocation, how it regulates the deployment of resources and how it publishes the outcomes.
Includes:
  • Financial regulations, including procurement policy
  • Annual accounts
  • Annual budget (as appears in the final accounts)
  • Planning and budgeting procedures
  • Corporate plan/Mission statement
  • Annual report
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge

3. Human Resources

Introduction
This section covers information on the institution's strategy and management of human resources, rather than information relating to individual members of staff which is exempt from disclosure as personal information. The information available covers personnel policies and procedures (including terms and conditions of service including all current versions of the information specified in each class).

 ClassDescriptionMannerFee
3.1 Employment and employee relations This class includes information relating to employment and employee relations.
Includes:
  • Human Resources Strategy
  • Policies, statements, procedures and guidelines relating to recruitment
  • Generic terms and conditions of employment
  • Salary grades
  • Collective bargaining procedures and consultation with recognised trade unions and professional organisations, and agreements reached
  • Grievance procedures and policies
  • Disciplinary procedures and policies
  • Harassment and bullying policy
  • Health and safety policy and procedures
  • Public interest disclosure (for compliance with the Public Interest Disclosure Act)
  • Job vacancies

Any other policies relating to staff not included elsewhere

The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
3.2 Equal opportunities/diversity This class includes information relating to equal opportunities and diversity
Includes:
  • Policies, statements, procedures and guidelines relating to the provision of equal opportunities with respect to age, race/ethnic origin, gender, religion and belief, sexual orientation, and disability
  • Race Relations/Race Equality Policies
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
3.3 Staff development This class includes information on staff development and training, including induction programmes, probation and appraisal.
Includes:
  • Induction – details of areas covered and procedures
  • Policies and procedures relating to probation
  • Policies and procedures pertaining to appraisal
  • Policies and procedures relating to the on-going development of staff, including schemes such as Investors in People
  • Policies on upgrades and promotions
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge

3. Physical Resources

Introduction
Institutions are often substantial land and property owners in their own right. Classes in this section cover information at a strategic level relating to the institution's management of its physical resources. Information that provides specific details of the institution's future plans to alter its estate (eg proposals to purchase additional property) may be exempt from disclosure where such disclosure would damage the institution's commercial interests

 ClassDescriptionMannerFee
4.1 Estates This class contains information relating to Estates Strategy.

Includes:

  • Estates strategy and plan
  • Tendering policies
  • Catering policies
  • Cleaning contract details
  • Grounds maintenance and upkeep
  • Building maintenance and upkeep
  • Recycling policies
  • Disposal policies
  • Map of main site
  • Address of main site and any other locations
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge

5. Student Administration and Support

Introduction
This section contains information on how the institution manages the administration and progression of their students from admission to course completion, including student support services. Information available within this section does not include specific student personal details, by virtue of being personal information.

 ClassDescriptionMannerFee
5.1 Information on student admission, progression and completion

This class includes information relating to student admission, progression and completion.

Includes:

  • Student qualifications on entry
  • The range of student entrants classified by age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background, disability and geographical origin
  • Student progression, retention and completion data
  • Data on qualifications awarded to students
  • Data on employment/training outcomes for graduates/students
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
5.2 Student accommodation

This class includes information relating to:

  • Accommodation services
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
5.3 Student administration

This class includes information relating to all areas of the maintenance of individual student records, including policies and procedures covering the management of the student records system itself, and the division of responsibilities between central registry staff, college staff and the students themselves.

Includes:

  • Registry student records policies and procedures documents
  • Registry security and data protection policy and procedure documents
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
5.4 Student admission and enrolment

This class includes information relating to the admission/enrolment of new students, including policies and procedures covering the assessment of external qualifications, the creation of student records, the coordination of student funding arrangements and the division of responsibilities between central admissions or equivalent and college staff.

Includes:

  • Admissions and enrolment policies and procedures documents
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
5.5 Student discipline

This class includes information relating to the conduct of disciplinary proceedings against students.

Includes:

  • Code of student discipline and other policy and procedure documents
  • Internal student complaint and appeals procedures
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
5.6 Student learning support services

This class includes information on student support services from an academic and learning perspective.

Includes:

  • Learning development and support Personal development advice
  • Services for students with special needs
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
5.7 Student liaison

This class includes information relating to the structure and functioning of staff/student consultative committees or other liaison groups. Includes:

  • Terms of Reference of Academic Board
  • Terms of reference of Student Support Committee
  • Minutes of previous Academic Board Meetings
  • Minutes of previous Student Support Committees
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
5.8 Student policies This class includes a guide to all student policies issued by the institution.

Includes:

  • Quality Policies
    • Dealing with complaints
    • Complaints appeals
    • Format of Student/Employer Files
    • Corporation Appeals Procedure
  • Learning Policy and Guidelines
  • Equality and Diversity – Staff/Students
  • Race Equality
  • Recruitment and Selection
  • Ethics and Code of Practice Freedom of Speech
  • Student Disciplinary
  • No Smoking
  • Drugs
  • Health and Safety of Young Persons and Children
  • Securing the Health and Safety of Disabled People
  • Workbased Training
  • College Transport
  • Internet
  • Library Membership and Induction
  • Sustainable Development
  • Finance – Student Support Fund
  • Data Protection
  • Higher Education Admissions
  • Careers Education, Information and Guidance
  • Higher Education Work Based Learning
  • Customer Care
  • Entry
  • On-Programme Support
  • Exit
  • Student Representation
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
5.9 Student welfare

Examples of the type of information in this class include:

  • Welfare/advice services
  • Health services
  • Careers services
  • Housing (for HE students)
  • Finance
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
5.10 Student Associations and Activities

This class contains information relating to the operation and activities of the Students' Union and other clubs, associations and non-academic activities that are organised for or by the students. Examples of information include:

Students' Union Constitution, Code of Practice, List of Officers and any other related documents

The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge

6. Information Services

Introduction
This section covers those functions within the institution that provide access to information to the student body and both academic and administrative staff. These include libraries, computing services and information support services. Such functions may be managed separately from each other, or in various combinations. These services routinely explain their facilities (and the conditions of their use) to students, staff and the general public, and it is information of this nature that is included within this section. Information services inevitably hold large quantities of personal data that are exempt from general disclosure.

 ClassDescriptionMannerFee
6.1 Availability and conditions of use of facilities

Information in these classes provides details about who can access systems and services and the facilities that they can access. Includes:

  • Opening hours of libraries, helpdesks, etc, scheduled maintenance times of systems
  • Who is allowed to use the facilities
  • The general rules and conditions of use.
  • Internet Policy for students
  • Email Policy for students
  • Data Protection guide for students
  • Copyright Policy
  • Access to/use of Archives, in accordance with College Policy
  • Logging, monitoring and procedures followed in case of breach of conditions of use
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
6.2 Mission statements and related documents

Includes:

  • ICT Strategy
  • ICT Policy
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
6.3 Policies with regard to data and information

Examples of the type of information in this class includes:

  • Security Policies
  • Data retention and archive policies
  • Data protection statements/policies
  • Email Policy
  • Access to information Policy
  • Policies on CCTV monitoring
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
6.4 The documents within this section are available by application to the College.

Information in this class offers assurances that monies are being appropriately spent and assurances that procurement is fair and open. The disposal policies also assure that the institution is making correct and appropriate use of funds.

Includes:

  • Policies relating to the procurement and disposal of equipment
  • Collection management/preservation strategy (including policy on disposal of stock)
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
6.5 Scope of collections held

Examples of the type of information in this class include:

  • Guides to collections
  • Scope and availability of catalogues
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge

7. Teaching and Learning

Introduction
This section contains information regarding the management of teaching and learning within the institution including mechanisms for reviewing and ensuring the quality of teaching provided.

 ClassDescriptionMannerFee
7.1 Academic year dates

This class includes information on the dates for the current academic year as well as future academic years (as far as is known).

- College calendar

The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
7.2 Further course information

This class includes information relating to particular colleges, also information relating to programmes and qualifications. Includes:

  • Term dates
  • Structure/content of courses
  • Duration of course
  • Qualification gained
  • Progression opportunities
  • Work experience
  • Enrichment
  • On-course support and relevant information
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
7.3 Information on internal procedures for assuring academic quality and standards

This class includes information about the institution's internal quality audit programmes and annual review. It also includes information on the College's internal procedures for assuring academic quality and standards.

Includes:

a) Information on programme approval, monitoring and review:

  • Programme specifications
  • Annual monitoring and review processes
  • Internal/External Validation procedures
  • Accreditation and monitoring reports by professional, statutory or regulatory bodi
  • External Verifier/Moderator procedures

b) Information on assessment procedures and outcomes:

  • Assessment strategies, processes and procedures
  • The range and nature of student work
  • Assessment appeals procedure

c) Information on student satisfaction with their college experience, covering the views of learners including:

  • Entry and On-programme survey
  • On-programme and exit survey
  • Course choice
  • Pre-entry processes
  • Induction
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Work placement
  • Progression (next steps)
  • Accommodation and environment
  • College facilities and services

d) Information and evidence available to teams undertaking internal reviews of quality and standards in relation to:

  • The effectiveness of teaching and learning
  • The range of teaching methods used
  • The availability and use of specialist equipment and other resources and materials to support teaching and learning including use of ILT
  • Staff access to Continuing Professional Development to improve the learning experience and teaching performance.
  • The use of external benchmarking
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
7.4 Staffing structure of colleges

This class includes information about staff roles within colleges, together with organisational charts.

Includes:

  • Job titles of academic staff and support staff
  • Contact details for each college
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
7.5 Student assessment strategy

This class includes information on the regulations and/or policy governing student assessment.

Includes:

  • Examination dates/guidance
  • Examination regulations
  • Appeals procedure
  • Policy on plagiarism
  • External examination bodies
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
7.6 Tuition fees

This class includes information relating to tuition fees for UK students, EU students and other international students, including information on when tuition fees will be payable and how to pay.

Includes:

  • Information for home/EU students
  • Information for international students
  • Information on other charges
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge

8. External Relations

Introduction
This section covers information relating to the institution's relationship with its external environment. These include the formal reports the institution is required to provide to its funding bodies, arrangements with other institutions, how it manages its relationship with the local community and how it retains contact with its former staff and students.

By virtue of its nature most institutions will probably find that the majority of these classes are already made available to the public in some means. Members of the public are also likely to find the same or related information is available from the external partners with which the institution has links.

 ClassDescriptionMannerFee
8.1 Government and Regulator relations

This class relates to the information that the institution is legally obliged to make available to its funding and/or monitoring bodies. Such material may provide information as to how well the institution is performing.

Includes:

  • Reports/returns to funding councils, inspectorates, standards bodies, research councils, professional bodies, government departments etc
  • OFSTED Inspections
  • ALI Inspections
  • QAA inspections
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
8.2 Marketing and recruitment

This class should include publications relating to student recruitment (UK and International), including the college prospectus. It will also include information related to the learning experience. There will be some overlap with Student Administration and Support. Examples of the type of information in this class include:

  • Prospectus
  • Open days
  • Entry requirements
  • Widening participation
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge
8.3 Public relations

This class contains information that is created specifically by the College to help publicise its facilities and activities.

Includes:

  • Press releases
  • Prospectuses
  • Course brochures
  • Newsletters and magazines
  • Current information provided to an enrolled student (i.e. contents of the 'welcome pack')
The documents within this section are available by application to the College. Free of charge