s21: Information reasonably accessible to applicant by other means

Summary

  • Absolute exemption, therefore no right of access under FOI, and no consideration of the public interest test required;
  • Duty to confirm or deny whether the information exists;
  • Obligation to provide advice and assistance to the applicant in search of the information (e.g. if it is available on the University website direct applicant to the URL);
  • Information may still be reasonably accessible even if it involves payment of a fee, although consideration must be given to the cost and the financial resources of the applicant. It would be unfair for information to come at such a cost that only large companies could afford it;
  • An applicant may also argue that information is not reasonably accessible if it is available only in digital form. In such cases the University should make arrangements for a printed copy to be provided;
  • Special considerations may also need to be given to those applicants that require information to be supplied in a different format due to a visual impairment or other disability (e.g. a larger font), in line with the University‚Äôs obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act;
  • The applicant may also state a preference to view the information in person, and this will continue to be the method of access to information held in the University Archives.

Examples of information that may fall under this exemption:

  • Prospectus and course information;
  • Student statistics available on the HESA website, or in Facts & Figures about the University;
  • Institutional reports from QAA, or other information from the TQI website;
  • Annual reports from previous years, available on the University website;
  • Policies and procedures that can be found through the publication scheme / on the University website.

Sources of further information

More detailed guidance notes about this exemption can be found by viewing the following links: