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What do we mean by re-use of public sector information?​

You may ask if you can re-use our information, perhaps for commercial purposes, in a way which, without permission, might breach our copyright. Such requests fall under the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015. ​

Scope of the Regulations

The Regulations cover information produced, held or disseminated by a public sector body within a public sector body's public task.

The Regulations define "re-use" as "the use by a person of a document … for a purpose other than the initial purpose within that public sector body's public task for which the document was produced".

The Regulations define “document” as “any information recorded in any form”.

The Regulations apply to various public sector bodies. They apply to the City of London as a Local Authority and the Police Authority, and to the library of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Some public sector body information is excluded under the Regulations:

  • Information for which the copyright is held by a third-party.
  • Information that falls outside the scope of the public task of the public sector body.
  • Parts of documents containing only logos, crests or insignia.
  • Information that contains personal data that must be protected.
  • Information exempt from disclosure under information access legislation such as the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

How to apply

If you would like to apply to re-use information for which we hold the copyright, you are required to:

  • Make your request in writing
  • State your name
  • Give an address for correspondence
  • Specify the document requested
  • State the purpose for which the document is to be re-used

Please send your request to:

information.officer@cityoflondon.gov.uk

or to:

Information Officer
Comptroller and City Solicitor’s Department
City of London
PO Box 270
Guildhall
London EC2P 2EJ

Response times

We are required to respond to re-use requests within 20 working days, beginning from the first working day after the request is received. The Regulations permit this period to be extended where the request is extensive or complex.

Charges

The Regulations state that, when allowing re-use, public sector bodies can usually only charge marginal costs incurred in respect of “reproduction, provision, and dissemination of documents”. For example, if we provide a copy of a dataset on disk for re-use, we can charge for the cost of the disk and postage.

The exceptions to the default position of marginal cost charges are:

  1. Where we are required to generate revenue to cover a substantial part of the costs relating to our public task.
  2. Where we are required to generate revenue from documents to cover a substantial part of our costs.
  3. Where the information is held for the purposes of our libraries, museums or archives.

For (1) and (2), the total income for the accounting period must not exceed the cost of collection, production, reproduction and dissemination of the information, together with a reasonable return on investment.

In the case of (3), the total income for the accounting period must not exceed the cost of collection, production, reproduction, dissemination, preservation and rights clearance of the information, together with a reasonable return on investment.

The Regulations do not define a reasonable return on investment. The rate of return to be applied on capital employed in a public sector body’s service provision will depend on whether that service provision competes with private sector provision of similar services.

Normally the standard cost of capital will apply. However, in cases where provision competes with private sector provision of similar services, the rate would be in line with the rates achieved by comparable businesses facing a similar level of risk.

Licenses and conditions for re-use

The Regulations require conditions on re-use to be as open and non-restrictive as possible. The easiest way for public bodies to do this is to use what is called the Open Government Licence. This allows re-use of public sector information without charge for any purpose, commercial or otherwise, with minimal conditions. However, other licences may be appropriate in particular situations, including where a charge for re-use is permitted beyond the marginal cost of reproduction, provision, and dissemination of documents.

Information asset list

The CoL has not yet produced an information asset list. However, you may like to visit the City of London’s Publication Scheme Guidance Document, which includes information relating to the CoL as a local authority and police authority.

Complaints

If you wish to make a complaint about the way we have managed your request under the Regulations, you can use our Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations Complaints Procedure, which is available on our feedback page.


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