5. Regulation and best practice

5.1 Complaints

The PSI Regulations establish a complaints process for those who are dissatisfied with the handling of a request for re-use made in accordance with those regulations. It is open to potential re-users of public sector information that have exhausted the public sector body's own internal complaints procedure, to refer their complaint on to the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI), part of The National Archives. Further details about the complaints procedure can be found in the Public Sector Information Directive and Regulations section of our website.  

5.2 Information Fair Trader Scheme (IFTS)

The National Archives manages the Information Fair Trader Scheme (IFTS), which sets and assesses standards for public sector bodies. It requires them to encourage the re-use of information and reach a standard of fairness and transparency. Any public sector body can apply to become IFTS accredited.

5.3 Charging for the use and re-use of public sector information

It is UK Government policy to support the re-use of its information by making information produced by central government departments available for re-use under simple licensing terms and, where possible, only charging the marginal cost of production for permission to re-use. In practice, this means public sector information can often be used and re-used free of charge, especially where the information is published online. The Open Government Licence should be the default licence where public sector information is made available for re-use free of charge. This maximises the social and economic value of the information.

If public sector bodies find it necessary to charge for re-use of their information, they will be subject to the charging provisions in the PSI Regulations and/or the INSPIRE Regulations in the case of spatial information and/or The Freedom of Information (Release of Datasets for Re-use) (Fees) Regulations 2013.

The PSI Regulations set out a charging regime, allowing re-use charges to be applied up to, but not in excess of, the cost of collection, production, reproduction and dissemination of documents and a reasonable return on investment. For information about charging under the INSPIRE Regulations see Data Sharing Operational Guidance: Licensing and Charging, below. Charging for re-use is also subject to the HM Treasury guidance in Managing Public Money. For information about charging under The Freedom of Information (Release of Datasets for Re-use) (Fees) Regulations see the Code of Practice (Datasets). The guidance and principles in Managing Public Money will also be relevant to other bodies such as local authorities in judging what constitutes a reasonable charge.

Where central government departments and agencies (whose information is subject to Crown copyright and/or Crown database right) wish to charge for the re-use of their public sector information, they are required to justify departures from the marginal cost model against a published set of criteria. This justification ensures that Government does not limit or restrict re-use. Departments and agencies that satisfy the criteria and application process will license their information under a delegation of authority from the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office. These licensing activities are then regulated under IFTS.

Data Sharing Operational Guidance: Licensing and Charging (PDF, 0.31Mb)

This page contains PDF files. See plug-ins and file formats for help in accessing these file types.