|The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the
Act) places requirements on public authorities relating to the disclosure
of information in order to promote greater openness and transparency.
The Compensation Scheme participants include the following public authorities
(as defined by the Act); UK Atomic Energy Authority, MOD and Sellafield Ltd. In addition, AWE
plc, is not strictly a public authority as defined by the Act but,
as it holds records on behalf of MOD which may need to be available
under the Act, it has chosen to comply with the Act voluntarily.
Through the Freedom of Information Act, interested parties can
request any information they require which is held by a public authority
and this must be provided within defined time limits, unless the
information requested is covered by one of the exemptions provided
by the Act. These exemptions are limited and cover such areas as
national security, commercial confidentiality and the potential
to harm the financial interests of bodies or companies not covered
by the Act. For requests which require the reproduction of large
volumes of material, the Act allows public authorities to levy reasonable
charges to cover their expenses.
In addition to the general requirement to provide information, the
Act requires every public authority to establish a publication scheme
in order to provide easy access to information about itself, its activities
and the way it operates. A publication scheme has to list the categories
of information that are available, detail how the information is published
and whether there are any charges for making the information available.
The Compensation Scheme’s public authorities each have publication
schemes and each scheme carries information about the Compensation
Scheme. It should be noted here that AWE plc requests should be routed
through the MOD publication scheme, which is shared by the two bodies.
MOD & AWE