Freedom of Information

Part 1: Introduction

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 and colleges of Higher Education.

2. What is a publication scheme?

2.1 A publication scheme is a document that 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 higher education

3.1 Ravensbourne has developed the model publication scheme prepared for the Higher Education sector and is committed to publishing the information it describes.

3.2 This model is designed for universities 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.

4. Who we are

4.1 The College can trace its earliest history back to the foundation of the Bromley School of Art in the 1870s. The modern history of the College began in 1962, when Beckenham School of Art and Sidcup School of Art amalgamated with Bromley School of Art to form Ravensbourne College of Art and Design and the new institution relocated to a new site in Bromley Common. In 1975, the bulk of College activities moved to its current site and new purpose-built accommodation in Chislehurst.

4.2 In the 1980s, in response to requests from the then National Advisory Body for Local Authority Higher Education for savings across higher education and a rationalization of fine art provision nationally, the College's fine art department was closed and the College refocused on its core specialist strengths in design and communication media. The College was renamed Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication. 1992 brought the School of Broadcasting to the main site.

4.3 During the 1990s, the College began to engage proactively with the opportunities and challenges presented to the creative disciplines by the development of computing and multimedia technology and championing the creative use of digital technologies in design and communications became a key part of the College Mission. The College's links with the creative industries were deepened and it benefitted for instance from endowments from the UK's independent television companies as their preferred supplier of education and training. Its distinctive approaches to learning and teaching and creative professional formation was also becoming known nationally [Ref:Securing Innovation and Creativity in Design Education, DFES/HEQE, 1999].

4.4 Over the last decade, Ravensbourne students have achieved success in many national competitions, such as the Royal Society of Arts Design Awards (RSA), British Design in Art Direction Awards (D&AD), New Designers Awards, Graduate Fashion Week Awards and PROMAX. The College was recognized in 2007 as one of 17 Skillset Media Academies nationally.

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.

5.2 Next to each class we have indicated the manner in which the information described will be available. Information available on the Web site is free of charge. We may charge a fee for printed material. Where requests are made for substantial amounts of information a charge will be made to cover the cost of photocopying and postage.

5.3 To request information available through our publication scheme, please contact: The Records Officer, Ravensbourne, 6 Penrose Way, London SE10 0EW, T +44 (0) 20 3040 3500.

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. They may charge a fee, which will have to be calculated according to Fees Regulations. They 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 us know. We also welcome suggestions as to how our scheme might be improved. Any questions, comments or complaints about this scheme should be sent in writing to the Records Officer, Ravensbourne, 6 Penrose Way, London SE10 0EW, T +44 (0) 20 3040 3500.

7.2 If we are 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
 Cheshire SK9 5AF

8. Further information

More information about the Freedom of Information Act is available on the Information Commissioner's website.

Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow. Cheshire, SK9 5AF
T +44 (0) 1625 545700
F +44 (0) 1625 524510

Contact us

If you would like to contact Ravensbourne directly with any queries or concerns regarding Freedom of Information, please write/email/call Jill Leigh, Head of Quality;

6 Penrose Way
SE10 0EW

Fax: +44 (0) 20 8325 8320