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Sir John Soane’s Museum Publication Scheme

The scheme explains what information the Museum makes available to the public and where possible provides an easy method of accessing this information.

Introduction to the Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act aims to develop a culture of openness in government and public bodies. The Act establishes a right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities and imposes obligations on them to disclose information, subject to a range of exemptions. Sir John Soane’s Museum is a public body under the terms of the Act.

Anyone can make a request for information to the Museum, although the request must be in writing (letter or e-mail). The Act gives applicants two related rights:

  • The right to be told whether the information exists;
  • The right to receive the information, where possible, in the manner requested.

In some cases, where information is exempt from disclosure, the Museum is required to consider whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption in question outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

Sir John Soane’s Museum Publication Scheme

Section 19 of the Act obliges every public authority to adopt an approved Publication Scheme. The intention of a Publication Scheme is to require authorities to make certain kinds of information routinely available to the public.  We have followed the model Publication Scheme for Authorities established to manage museums, libraries, and archives taking effect from 1 January 2009 in compliance with guidance from the Information Commissioner.

The information listed in the Publication Scheme is generally made available in electronic format but can be provided as a hardcopy on request in writing (email is acceptable) or by phone.


All information listed in the Publication Scheme is available free of charge.


Information which is generated by Sir John Soane’s Museum and included in this Publication Scheme may be reproduced for information and personal study only. Please refer to our Terms of Use for information about reproducing images.

Permission to reproduce information in the Publication Scheme does not extend to any material which is identified as being the copyright of a third party. Authorisation to reproduce such material must be obtained from the copyright holders concerned.

How to make a request for information not included in the Publication Scheme

Requests for information not listed in the Publication Scheme should be made in writing to the Museum and should provide as much detail as possible to enable Museum staff to identify the information sought. If you require the information in a particular format, for example, in hard copy or electronically, this should be stated in your application. If you have difficulty in identifying the precise information you require, or difficulty in making the application in writing, we will be pleased to help.

In general Sir John Soane’s Museum is required to respond to requests for information within 20 working days. If a fee is to be charged, this will be calculated according to the Fees Regulations published by the Information Commissioner. Under the Act, fees may be charged based on a standard hourly rate in respect of the time spent in determining whether the Museum holds the information, locating the information or a document which may contain the information, retrieving the information or a document which may contain the information, and extracting the information from a document containing it. Where fees are payable, the enquiry will be answered within 20 working days from the date of receipt of the fee.

The Museum's postal address is:
Sir John Soane’s Museum 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3BP
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7440 4245

Email enquiries:
For general visitor information please email

For collection enquiries please email

Appeals and complaints procedure

If you are dissatisfied with the response you have had from the Museum in respect of a request for information you may invoke the appeals and complaints procedure. The first step is to seek an internal review of the decision you have received. Requests for internal review should be submitted in writing to the Archivist and Head of Library Services at the Museum.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome or the handling of the internal review conducted by the Museum you may seek an independent review from the Information Commissioner.

Requests for a review by the Information Commissioner should be made in writing directly to:
The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Further information about this scheme, comments

If you need any further information about the contents of the Museum's Publication Scheme or have any comments about access to Museum information, please contact the Archivist and Head of Library Services, Sue Palmer, at

1. Who we are and what we do (constitutional and legal governance, organisational information, locations and contacts;)

1.1 Constitution

1.2 Roles and responsibilities
Governance; Trustees; Senior Management team

1.3 Location and public access arrangements for the Museum 
Your visit; Access

1.4 Contact details for the Museum
Contact us

1.5 Subsidiary bodies: Registered addresses and details
Soane Museum Enterprises

2. What we spend and how we spend it (financial information relating to projected and actual income and expenditure, tendering, procurement and contracts)

2.1 Funding Agreement: Management Agreement with DCMS

2.2 Financial Statements, budgets and variance reports
Annual Report and Accounts; Government Transparency Agenda

2.3 Purchasing plans for exhibits
Acquisitions and Disposals (Collections Management) Policy

2.4 Spending Reviews
Annual Report and Accounts

2.5 Grants and Donations
Annual Report and Accounts; Annual Review; Policy on receipt of donations (available on request – need to say who to contact)

2.6 Financial Audit Reports
Annual Report and Accounts

2.7 Staff and board members’ allowances and expenses
Annual Report and Accounts; Financial Memorandum

2.8 Pay and grading structures
Work With Us; Government Transparency Agenda;

2.9 Procurement and tendering procedures and copies of tender documents
Available on application to the Finance Director, Louise Peckett 

2.10 Contracts currently available for public tender
Available on application to the Finance Director, Louise Peckett 

There are currently no contracts available for public tender.

2.11 Details of contracts awarded and their value and copies of tender documents (subject to redaction)
Available on application to the Finance Director, Louise Peckett 

2.12 Financial statements for projects and events
Annual Report and Accounts; Government Transparency Agenda

2.13 Internal financial regulations

3. What are our priorities and how are we doing (strategies and plans, performance indicators, audits, inspections and reviews)

3.1 Strategic plans
Management Agreement with DCMS

3.2 Annual Business plan
Management Agreement with DCMS

3.3 Annual Report
Annual Report and Accounts and Annual Review

3.4 Funding Agreement reports:
Annual Report and Accounts

3.5 Visitor figures and audience research
Available via DCMS website 
Annual Report and Accounts

4. How we make decisions (decision making process and records of decisions)

4.1 Minutes of senior level meetings:
Trustees Minutes available on application to subject to appropriate redaction of confidential information

5. Our Policies and Procedures (current written protocols, policies and procedures for delivering our services and responsibilities)

5.1 Policies and procedures for the conduct of business

5.2 Policies and procedures for the provision of services

5.3 Customer service
Contact us; Access; Complaints policy

5.4 Records management and personal data policies
Website terms and conditions

5.5 Charging regime and policies
Website terms and conditions

5.6 Collection and collection care
Collections, Conservation

6. Lists and Registers (Information held in registers required by law and other lists and registers relating to the functions of the authority)

6.1 Asset Registers
Annual Report and Accounts

6.2 Register of gifts and hospitality provided to Trustees and senior staff
Available on application to the Office Manager

6.3 Register of Trustees Interests
Available on application to the Office Manager

7. The services we offer (information about the services we currently provide including leaflets, advice and guidance, newsletters and media releases)

7.1 Information about the collection and related research material, including catalogues and other finding aids
Research Library; Collections online

7.2 Access arrangements for Museum and Research Library
Your Visit; Research Library; Accessibility

7.3 Exhibitions

7.4 Services for which fees are charged and details of those charges
EventsImages; Shop; Venue hire

7.5 Opportunities for volunteers

7.6 Educational opportunities
Learning; Events; Exhibitions

7.7 Advice and guidance
Your visit; Access; Tours

7.8 Media releases and membership
Press releases available from Tom Ryley, Communications Officer

7.9 Publication for the purposes of Part 6 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (Objects on loan)
Sir John Soane’s Museum does not currently have any items on loan recommended for protection under Part 6 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (protection of cultural objects on loan).