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Information Fair Trader Scheme (IFTS) accredited

The Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI), part of The National Archives, runs the Information Fair Trader Scheme (IFTS).

IFTS is an accreditation scheme which aims to encourage the re-use of information and sets and assesses standards for public sector bodies who trade in information. This involves assessment and accreditation by OPSI, in accordance with the IFTS principles.

IFTS accreditation is the means by which we are regulated by OPSI in relation to the licensing of our Crown copyright and database right information.

OS has achieved full IFTS accreditation. This shows our commitment to the IFTS principles, which is confirmed by our Chief Executive’s statement of personal commitment.

The IFTS principles

The IFTS is based on the following six core principles, which we aim to meet in relation to the licensing of our Crown copyright and database right information:

Maximisation
An obligation to allow others to re-use information. The default position is that information can be re-used unless there are strong reasons (for example personal information) not to allow re-use.

Simplicity
Simple processes, policies and licences.

Innovation
Public sector information holders actively remove obstacles to re-use, and facilitate the development of new and innovative forms of re-use.

Transparency
Transparency of the terms of re-use, including licence terms, where used. There should also be transparency about charges and the details of what information is available for re-use.

Fairness
All re-users must be treated in a non-discriminatory way for same for the same type of re-use. Public sector information holders should not discriminate between re-users or compete unfairly by virtue of having produced the information.

Challenge
A robust complaints process to reconsider licensing decisions. The process should include appropriate references to the Information Commissioner’s Office, which will investigate any complaints that the public sector information holder cannot resolve to the customer’s satisfaction.

Our IFTS accreditation

We were first accredited under IFTS in April 2003, and re-accredited in October 2005, November 2007, March 2011 and July 2015. See OPSI’s most recent IFTS report on OS.

Complaints about our licensing under IFTS

If you have a complaint about our compliance with the standards set by the IFTS or about any aspect of our accreditation under IFTS, we will investigate it thoroughly. Our IFTS internal complaints process is as follows:

1. You should set out your complaint in writing by letter or email to your Account Manager or to our Customer Service Centre (CSC) marking your correspondence “Complaint under IFTS”.

2. You will receive an initial acknowledgement to your complaint from either your Account Manager or the Customer Services team. Your Account Manager or the CSC will then review your complaint and provide a response – usually within 10 working days.

3. If you are unhappy with our response, you can request that the matter is escalated to the relevant business group Director. We would hope to review and respond to you within a further 10 working days.

4. If you are not happy with the relevant business group Director’s response or with how the process has been managed, you may request that the matter is then referred to OS’s Director of Products and Innovation (who is also Chair of our Pricing and Trading Group) who will review the matter and respond to you within a further 10 working days.

Please note that all of the above timescales are indicative and may vary depending upon the complexity of the matter. In any event we will keep you updated regarding anticipated timescales of our responses.

If you are unhappy with the way that we have handled a complaint under our IFTS procedures or are not happy with the response we have provided, you may wish to consider:

1. Making a complaint under the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015, which enables further recourse to the Information Commissioner’s Office; and / or

2. Making representations to OPSI for the purpose of OPSI taking these representations into account in future IFTS verification processes. Please note that following introduction of the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015, OPSI does not investigate or report on complaints under IFTS or the Re-use Regulations, with complaints about re-use under the Re-use regulations now being the responsibility of the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Please also note that for the purposes of future verifications under IFTS, we will self-report to OPSI in relation to any IFTS complaints.

More information

Go to the The National Archives website for more information about IFTS.

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