Hampshire County Councils Transparency Policy Statement
Transparency promotes accountability by providing the public with information about what the County Council is doing.
The greatest public benefit will accrue when information is provided in forms that can be easily accessed, understood and analysed. However, it is appropriate to take steps to reduce the risk that public trust will be undermined by inaccurate data or deliberate distortion.
The presumption of openness does not preclude the legitimate protection of information (including commercial information) whose release would invade personal privacy, breach confidentiality or damage other genuinely compelling interests.
The starting point for all decisions to publish is the principles of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The County Council recognise that it has a responsibility to provide a right of access to the information that it holds. It also recognises that it has a duty of care towards the public, clients and staff where it holds information on them, including duties contained within the Data Protection Act.
In deciding whether to publish information the County Council will take into consideration whether it is lawful to release that information and whether the public interest in publishing that information outweighs the public interest in withholding it.
The publication of data is not a substitute to existing democratic scrutiny, it is a valuable addition. Information will be published subject to any relevant statutory consultation requirements.
Wherever appropriate, the County Council will provide background information alongside the data it publishes to put the information into context and aid understanding.
The County Council maintains a Publication Scheme that outlines the documents that it publishes. The County Councils website will be the prime site for publication of documents, with the current versions of documents maintained on its web site.
The County Council will make information as freely available as possible and make it available to reuse under the Open Government Licence for public sector information. Where information is considered confidential, its status will be regularly reviewed and published as soon as it is appropriate.
The County Council will aim to publish information in an open format that can be retrieved, downloaded, indexed and searched by commonly used Web search applications. In addition, it may also publish the information in easily printable versions. It will use its internet site as the method of publication.
The County Council will consider the government’s Public Data Principles when making decisions on when and how to publish.