As soon as an authority has been selected for assessment, a letter is sent to advise them of this, asking for a point of contact for the Assessment Team. The authority is issued with two documents about four months before the planned visit:
The self-evaluation form asks for specific documentation and information, and allows the authority to provide additional comment and context, to help assessors build up a full picture of how that authority deals with information requests.
The assessors use the information provided to inform their pre-visit research, identifying issues, but also areas of good practice. They use a detailed checklist which covers e.g.
The team also speak to colleagues for feedback e.g. colleagues who approve and audit publication schemes, and investigating officers who deal with appeals.
This culminates in a pre-visit assessment report which includes an assessment schedule for the two day assessment visit.