The Act also sets out exemptions from that requirement and places a number of obligations on public authorities. Student Loans Company ("SLC") is a public authority in terms of the Act.
Under section 19 of the Act each public authority is obliged to produce and maintain a Scheme setting out the classes of information which it publishes or intends to publish, the manner in which this information is published, and whether it is available free of charge or on payment. The purpose of a Scheme is to ensure a significant amount of information is easily and routinely available. Schemes are intended to encourage organisations to publish more information proactively and to develop a greater culture of openness.
The SLC Scheme is not a list of all publications or information that SLC publishes; rather it refers to classes of information that we will make available. It describes the types of information that SLC produces and aims to enable to make that information easily accessible. The Scheme does not contain a list of everything that is on SLC's website but it does provide links to areas within it. It is available on request in Welsh, Braille and Audio. On some occasions we may need to edit the material we make available. This will usually be because of concerns about confidentiality, invasion of privacy or commercial sensitivity.
What is the aim of the scheme?
This Scheme is intended to:
- increase your understanding of what SLC does;
- increase your awareness of the services SLC provides;
- set out the information SLC holds;
- and explain how you obtain that information and at what cost (if any).
Information that we may withhold
Our aim in maintaining this scheme is to be as open as possible. You should note, however, that there may be limited circumstances where information will be withheld from one of the classes of information. Information will only be withheld, however, where the Act expressly permits it.
Information may be withheld, for example:
- where its disclosure would breach the law of confidentiality;
- if it relates to living individuals (except where that can be done without breaching data protection rules);
- where disclosure is prohibited by some other law or by a court; or
- where some other exemption under the Act applies.
Where this occurs, SLC will generally issue as much material from any particular document as possible highlighting where information has been withheld and (unless there is no obligation to do so) explaining the nature of the exemption that applies.