Re-use of Public Sector Information (RPSI)

RPSI means using public sector information for a purpose other than the initial public task it was produced for.

This means an individual, a company or other organisation taking information that we have produced and republishing it, or using it to produce a new product or resource, often by combining it with other information. This is sometimes, though not always, on a commercial basis. RPSI is intended to encourage re-use of public sector information.

RPSI is about permitting re-use of information and how it is made available. It is not about accessing information, which is dealt with under information access legislation such as a Freedom of Information Request. ​

Make a request for RPSI

To make a request for Re-use of Public Sector Information to Northamptonshire County Council, you must submit the request in writing including:

  • your name
  • your address for correspondence
  • the information that you want to re-use and the purpose you intend to use it for

You do not need to make a request if we have already made the information available under the Open Government Licence (OGL), which would be stated alongside the information, but you must follow the terms of the OGL.

Please send all RPSI requests to:

FOI/Data Protection Team                                         
Northamptonshire County Council               
One Angel Square
Angel Street


What happens when we receive your request?

  1. Once we receive your request to re-use information, we will respond within 20 working days. This time limit can be extended if the information is extensive or the request raises complex issues, but we will inform you of this within the 20 day period.
  2. We must permit re-use in response to a request. However, the RPSI does not apply to information that would be exempt from disclosure under information access legislation such as Freedom of Information. We do not have to permit re-use of exempt information and information we have withheld.
  3. If the council has not previously disclosed the information requested, then we will deal with this as an access request under the appropriate legislation (as a Freedom of Information or Environmental Information Regulations request) in order to decide whether the information is exempt. This will be the first stage of dealing with the request and once responded to, we will then deal with the re-use request.
  4. We will make the information for re-use available in the format and language in which it is held by us. If we don’t already hold it in an open and machine readable ‘Machine readable’ means that the information is structured so that software can extract specific elements of the data with metadata, but it is possible and appropriate to make it available in this way, then we will do so. This means open formats, such as CSV, which are preferable to proprietary formats such as XLS.

Further information about RPSI

Bodies covered by RPSI are referred to as public sector bodies and include central and local government, and a number of other specified bodies. RPSI applies to Northamptonshire County Council.

RPSI also applies to:

  • libraries (including university libraries)
  • museums
  • archives

Documents held by educational and research establishments, public service broadcasters and cultural and performing arts bodies (other than libraries, museums and archives) are excluded.

RPSI is UK wide. It applies to public sector bodies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Public sector information is information that the council produces as part of its core role and function (otherwise known as public task), as defined in legislation or established through custom and practice.

Information that is not held as part of our public task would not be covered by RPSI.

RPSI does not apply to information that would be exempt from disclosure under information access legislation, such as the Data Protection Act (DPA), the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) and the INSPIRE regulations.

Information that would be exempt under section 21 of the FOIA, because it is already reasonably accessible to a requester (for example because it is on the council’s website) would normally be available for re-use.

RPSI does not apply to recorded information we hold if someone else holds the intellectual property rights (for example copyright or database rights). We can only permit re-use if we hold the intellectual property rights for the information.

The council is required to publish a list of the main information it holds within its public task. This should include information that we already publish proactively, as well as unpublished information. This information is contained within the council's Publication scheme

We are able to charge for permitting re-use, but with some important exceptions.

We can only charge for the marginal costs of reproducing, providing and disseminating the information. For example, if we provide a copy of a dataset on disk for re-use, we could charge for the cost of the disk and postage.

In many cases, these costs will be negligible, and if we are publishing the information on our website, it is unlikely we will make a charge. As highlighted under the Open Government Licence, information is made available for re-use free of charge.

The exceptions to the default position of marginal cost concern when we are required to generate revenue to cover either:

  • a substantial part of the costs relating to our public task
  • documents for which we are required to generate revenue to cover a substantial part of our costs
  • libraries, museums and archives

We will use Regulation 15 of RPSI when considering the charge, which sets out how the charge should be calculated. 

We may impose conditions on re-use however, the conditions will be as open and non-restrictive as possible.

The easiest way we will do this is to use the Open Government Licence. This allows re-use of public sector information without charge for any purpose, commercial or otherwise, with minimal conditions.

However, other licences may be appropriate in particular situations, including where there is a charge for re-use. The UK Government Licensing Framework includes other types of standard licences.

Generally speaking, we will not enter into exclusive licensing arrangements with a particular person or organisation, but there are some limited exceptions to this. 

​The dataset provisions in FOIA, introduced by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, are to do with making datasets that have been requested under FOIA available for re-use. They cover the format in which such information should be made available, charges and licences for re-use. RPSI makes certain amendments to these provisions. As a result, the requirements relating to datasets under FOIA are now as follows.

Where the council makes a dataset available in response to a FOIA request, we will, so far as is reasonably practicable, make it available in a re-usable electronic form. We will also endeavour to make requested datasets available in our publication scheme in a re-usable form unless we are satisfied that it is not appropriate to do so.

If the dataset falls under RPSI, for example because it is produced as part of our public task, then we will calculate any charges for allowing re-use and deal with any licences under RPSI and not FOIA. This applies to providing the dataset in response to a request and making it available in the publication scheme. Therefore, for any dataset that is covered by RPSI, the FOIA applies to the format in which it is made available, but RPSI applies to the charges and licences for re-use.