Skip to main content

Publication Scheme

Further Education (FE) Colleges (FE Sector) are the main providers of vocational and technical education and training in Northern Ireland (NI). The nature of College provision is diverse and broad based ranging from A levels and GCSEs to BTECs, HNCs, HNDs, Apprenticeships, Foundation Degrees, Degrees and other specific training programmes. The FE Sector plays a central role in raising levels of literacy and numeracy and in up-skilling and re-skilling the population through a broad range of courses leading to qualification, particularly in Level 2 to Level 6.

There are six FE Colleges within Northern Ireland: Belfast Metropolitan College (Belfast Met), Northern Regional College (NRC), North West Regional College (NWRC), South Eastern Regional College (SERC), South West College (SWC) and Southern Regional College (SRC).

As Non-Departmental Public Bodies, the Colleges are subject to legislation regarding information governance such as the Freedom of Information 2000.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) gives everyone the Right to request information from public authorities, helping them to understand better how the College works, how we spend public money and how and why we make our decisions.

The Colleges encourage collaboration across the FE Sector where similar functions exist to embed a coordinated strategy towards best practice. The Sector has collaborated to develop a joint Publication Scheme and adopt agreed protocols regarding the release of information which is subject to FOIA.

What is the Publication Scheme and why do we have one?

Section 19 of the FOIA requires Public Authorities (i.e., Government and other public sector bodies, including Universities and Further Education Colleges) to produce "Publication Schemes", which are schedules of information to be routinely published by the Public Authorities.

In this context, ‘publish’ is defined as ‘to make information routinely available’.
The publication of information is designed to increase the transparency and accountability of the Public Authority by enabling members of the public to routinely access information relating to its functions. Information may be available via links to website information, documents and where possible it should be made available in a re-usable format (dataset). 

In compliance with our obligations, the FE Sector will:
  • Proactively publish or otherwise make available as a matter of routine, information, including environmental information, which is held by the College and falls within the classifications below. 
  • Specify the information which is held by the authority and falls within the classifications below.
  • Proactively publish or otherwise make available as a matter of routine, information in line with the statements contained within this scheme.
  • Produce and publish the methods by which the specific information is made routinely available so that it can be easily identified and accessed by members of the public.
  • Review and update on a regular basis the information the authority makes available under this scheme.
  • Produce a schedule of any fees charged for access to information which is made proactively available.
  • Make this Publication Scheme available to the public.

Information not covered by the Publication Scheme

Information held by the College but not listed as available via the Publication Scheme may be requested by submitting a Freedom of Information request to the College. Details on how to make this request and how the College will process it are available in the FE Sector Freedom of Information Policy. All requests will be processed in compliance with the FOIA and the FE Sector Freedom of Information Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).

How to use the Publication Scheme

The FE Sector has provided the table below to enable individuals to browse our index of published information.

The Publication Scheme is divided into the categories listed above (See section 3 above). Next to each category, the Colleges have provided the method by which the information is available. In most cases, a hyperlink will be provided to the information directly.
In some instances, e.g. where the information is too voluminous to publish online, the College will provide this upon request. Where this applies, the Publication Scheme will detail the appropriate contact details to direct such requests.

Requests for information which are or form part of a dataset or where the requester expresses a preference for the information to be electronic, will be released in.

Data sets published via the Publication Scheme will be periodically refreshed. This time will be determined by the business area.


Information which is published on the website or which can be transmitted electronically will incur no fee.
We may charge for providing information in paper copy or on removable storage devices such as Computer discs or USB drives. Charges will reflect the actual costs of reproduction, consumables, and postage and will not exceed the costs accrued by the College or staff time.

If we intend to charge, we will tell you:
  • the charge
  • how it has been calculated
  • how to pay

The requester will be made aware of any charges in advance of the information being collated.

Other formats

If you would like this scheme, or any of the information it covers, in a more accessible format, please contact the Data Protection Officer to discuss additional ways in which the information may be made available to you.

Contact details

Further details regarding this document can be obtained by contacting

ICO Guidance

The FE Sector will continually refer to legislation and ICO guidance when processing Publication Scheme information requests.

Further information is available to the public on the ICO website.