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Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information Act (2000) extends the public’s rights of access to information held by public authorities, including further and higher education institutions, and imposes a number of obligations on them.


Freedom of Information Act (2000) extends the public’s rights of access to information held by public authorities, including further and higher education institutions, and imposes a number of obligations on them. These obligations increase the College’s accountability and transparency regarding operations and decisions made by the organisation to gain public understanding of its nature, decisions and activities via the systematic publication of all relevant information unless there are exemptions permitted by the Act.

So far as is possible SERC will make every effort to provide members of the public with any information they need that is held by the College where practical and permissible. This obligation can be met via either the approved Publication Scheme or in response to individual requests.

Publication Scheme

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires public authorities (i.e. Government and other public sector bodies, including Universities and Further Education Colleges) to produce "Publication Schemes", which are guides to the information routinely published, internally or externally, by the public authorities in question. The purpose of the Act is to promote greater openness by public authorities and more public access to the published information of the public authority.

SERC, like other Further Education Colleges in Northern Ireland, was established by the Further Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 and as a public authority the College has adopted the model publication scheme approved by the Office of the Information Commissioner. The directory does not exhaustive of all actual publications available as information will change as new material is published or existing material is revised.

Your Rights

Members of the public have a statutory right (with some minor limitations) to either;

  • Obtain (either from the College’s website or in some other form) all the information covered by the College’s Publication Scheme.
  • Request (with some minor limitations) any information held by the College, regardless of when it was created, by whom, or the form in which it is now recorded.

How to Make an Information Request

To avoid unnecessary administration to yourself and the College, you should first review the College Publication Scheme as the information may already be available for you to access.

If you wish to make a Freedom of Information request, you must submit your request in writing/email and forward to:

Email: InformationOfficer@serc.ac.uk

Information Officer
SERC, Bangor Campus
Castle Park Road
BT20 4TD


When we receive your request we will review the nature of what is being requested and whether or not we hold the information.

  • If the information relates to personal information, it will be processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act (1998).
  • If the information is included in the Publication Scheme, we will issue this automatically.
  • If your request relates to ‘environmental information’, the request is covered by the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.


Although the Freedom of Information Act (2000) places an obligation on the College to make certain documentation available, certain exemptions may apply and as a result, the request will be declined.

  • Cost in relation to staff time and extracting the information is detrimental to College functions.
  • Vexatious requests
  • Repeated requests from the same individual

The current cost limit which the College allows for to comply with legislation is £450. Should the cost exceed this amount the College will issue you with an itemised invoice, detailing anticipated costs which would be incurred if we pursue with your request. The timeframe for response will freeze and no further action will be taken by the College until the fee has been paid.

Full explanation regarding grounds for refusing a request can be found on the following link - Refusing a Request


The College will respond to all information requests within 20 working days in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (2000). If there are extenuating circumstances as to why this timescale cannot be met, the college will communicate with you to explain the reasons why.

The College can only supply information that it already holds, we cannot create a document on request. Likewise, a document will not be edited before being published in response to a request. We are permitted to make routine changes to the information while we are dealing with the request as long as these would have been made regardless of the request.

The information can be available in a number of formats, including by email, as a printed copy, on a disk, or by arranging for the requester to view the information. You may indicate which method of response you would prefer.

How to Appeal a Decision

If you are unsatisfied with our response, you can appeal by contacting the Information Officer who will conduct an internal review and respond.

In the event that you still feel we have not dealt with your request properly, you can contact the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) who will assess your Information Request and our subsequent response.

Policy Downloads

Freedom of Information Policy
Records Management Policy

FOI Requests

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