COT Information Guide

The aim of the COT information guide is to bring together in one place the many differing types of information that are issued by the Committee in the discharge of its public functions in a clear and structured manner and to save time and effort in searching and securing relevant Committee information.

Every public authority subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) is required to adopt and maintain a publication scheme. A publication scheme is a commitment to routinely and proactively provide information to the public.

The COT had adopted the model Publication Scheme as recommended by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website.

The COT Information Guide offers the kinds of information the ICO expect scientific advisory committees to provide in order to meet their commitments under the model publication scheme unless:

  • they do not hold the information
  • the information is exempt under one of the Freedom of Information (FOI) exemptions or Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) exceptions, or its release is prohibited under another statute
  • the information is archived, out of date or otherwise inaccessible; or,
  • it would be impractical or resource-intensive to prepare the material for routine release.

Contained within the COT Information Guide is information released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) and Environmental Information Regulations (EIR). From 1 January 2005 the general right of access to information held by public authorities came into force under the requirements of Section 19 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs).

The FOIA 2000 gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities such as COT, provides exemptions from that right and places a number of obligations on public authorities.

The Act requires the COT to:

  • adopt and maintain a scheme which relates to the publication of information by the authority and to have that scheme approved by the Information Commissioner;
  • publish information in accordance with that scheme; and
  • review the scheme from time to time.

The publication scheme specifies:

  • the classes of information which the public authority publishes (or intends to publish);
  • the manner in which information in each class is, (or is intended to be), published and;
  • whether the material is (or is intended to be) available free of charge or on payment of a fee.

The publication scheme categorises the information type and provide details on how to obtain it. The overall benefit to our stakeholders and others is to save time and effort in searching and securing relevant Committee information.

The EIRs establish an access regime which allows people to request environmental information from public authorities and those bodies carrying out a public function. Both the Act and Regulations are enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

If you cannot find details of the information you are looking for on this website and want to make a request for information to the COT, use our e-mail address to contact us.