1. This policy governs the extent to which the Commission may make available electronic copies of the Register of Charities, or of the governing documents and accounts of charities.
2. The Commission is committed to providing such copies on a fair and transparent basis which does not discriminate between those requesting such copies in a way which is contrary to the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005 (‘the RPSI regulations’).
3. Under section 18 of the Charities Act 2011 (‘the 2011 Act’) the Commission must at the request of any person, furnish that person with copies of, or extracts from, any document in its possession which is for the time being open to inspection. The Charity Commission may charge fees for the supply of such copy documents under section 19 of the 2011 Act.
4.The requirement to provide copies does not extend to a requirement to provide an electronic copy of data. Consequently the Commission has a discretion when dealing with applications for an electronic copy. The Charity Commission can choose to discharge its obligation to provide a copy of such documents to a person requesting them (‘the Requestor’) by providing an electronic copy where the Requestor agrees to it being in such a form.
5. On 1 July 2005 the RPSI regulations came into force. The purpose of the Regulations is to establish a framework that provides for the effective re-use of public sector information. However, the RPSI regulations do not apply to a document in which a third party owns relevant intellectual property rights. This is likely to be the case with annual reports and accompanying documents and governing documents of charities.
6.The Register of Charities (‘the Register’) is subject to Crown database right(1). The Charity Commission cannot grant a licence for the re-use of any material subject to Crown database right. This is the responsibility of the HMSO section of the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI). They do consult the Commission with regard to this process but they have the responsibility for it.
7. Regulation 11 of the RPSI regulations states that, where possible and appropriate, a public sector body shall make a document available for re-use by electronic means. As indicated above, these regulations do not apply to the annual reports, any accompanying document such as accounts, or to governing documents. The Register will be subject to the regulations but OPSI will be responsible for licensing any re-use.
8. The Commission will make available in electronic form copies of the Register, extracts, governing documents and accounts in accordance with the procedure set out below.
9. This procedure is concerned with the issue of access to an electronic copy and not with the issue of re-use (which is not a matter we have the power to licence). Nevertheless in deciding whether to provide an electronic copy the Commission will take into account the proposed re-use of the information in question.
10. The Commission can provide an electronic copy in discharge of its duty to provide a copy of publicly available information if the person requesting the copy is happy to receive it in that form. There is no obligation on the Commission to provide a copy in this form.
11. In providing copies of the governing documents, annual reports, accounts, and extracts from the Register the Commission is not making these available for re-use. The issue of re-use is a matter for the person owning the intellectual property rights. In the case of governing documents, annual reports, and accounts this will usually be the charity concerned. The issue of re-use with regard to the Register is a matter for OPSI.
12. The Commission will not provide an electronic copy of the publicly available information upon request where the intention is to use the information for direct marketing purposes.
13. The Commission will not provide an electronic copy of any material subject to Crown copyright or to Crown database right unless it is satisfied
(i) that the proposed re-use is for one of the following permitted purposes for which a licence is not required
(a) use of insubstantial parts of the information provided for any purpose;
(b) use of a substantial part of the information for the purpose of illustration for teaching or research and not for commercial purpose provided that the source is indicated;
(c) use of all or a substantial part of the information for a purpose which does not involve making all or a substantial part of those contents available to the public by any means.
(ii) that the Requestor has a licence from OPSI in respect of the proposed re-use or has received confirmation from OPSI that the Requestor does not require such a licence for the intended re-use;
(iii) that the Requestor intends to re-use the information in an appropriate manner. In deciding what is appropriate the Commission will have due regard to the government policy to encourage the re-use of public sector information for the benefit of business, society and the citizen. Any refusal by the Commission to provide an electronic copy on this basis will relate solely to the purposes for which the information is intended to be re-used and any such refusal will be publicised and a similar approach taken to all comparable applications. The Commission will not refuse an electronic copy for reasons relating to the class of Requestor involved.
14. Persons who wish to obtain an electronic copy for a permitted re-use (see paragraph 13(i) above) or who already hold a licence should contact Charity Commission First Contact. Persons wishing to obtain a licence should apply to the Licensing Division of HMSO, Office of Public Sector Information, St Clements House, 2 - 16 Colegate, Norwich, NR3 1BQ, Fax 01603 723000, email, or visit their website at www.opsi.gov.uk. You are only likely to need a licence if you intend to make the information publicly available. Please only contact OPSI in these circumstances.
Conditions of Agreement to provide an electronic copy
15. Any document of which an electronic copy is provided must not be re-used in any manner which breaches the copyright in the document. Where the Requestor makes publicly available a document, or the information contained in the document, which is subject to Crown copyright or Crown database right, the Requestor will include a statement that the document or information is subject to Crown copyright or Crown database right, was provided by the Commission, and that s/he/it has complied with the necessary legal requirements in respect of re-use.
16. It is a condition of the agreement to provide an electronic copy that the Requestor will not use any personal data provided as part of the publicly available information for direct marketing purposes.
17. In any event it is a condition of any such agreement that any personal data will only be processed by the Requestor in accordance with the data protection principles set out in the Data Protection Act 1998.
18. The agreement to provide an electronic copy of information will be subject to the Requestor meeting the charges of the Commission for providing such a copy. The choice of electronic format will be at the discretion of the Commission. It is intended that the charge for provision of an electronic copy of information will be set at a rate to cover the actual cost of provision plus 6% of the capital costs involved. This is in accordance with the RPSI regulations and the Treasury guidelines. It is intended to develop a range of standard charges which will be made available on the Commission's website.
19. Where the purpose for which the data will be re-used is charitable, philanthropic or benevolent, the charge specified in paragraph 18 will be waived irrespective of the status of the Requestor. Similarly, where the purpose for which the data is required is commercial the charge will be levied irrespective of the status of the Requestor. Where the proposed purpose is for both a charitable, philanthropic or benevolent purpose and a commercial purpose, the charge will be levied irrespective of the status of the Requestor.
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