Freedom of Information (FOI) and Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) fees and charges
The FOI Act and EIR allow public authorities to recover costs when responding to a request for information, for example costs associated with photocopying, printing and postage. Most requests for information will be responded to by email and in such cases there would normally be no costs to recover. If it is necessary to make a charge for a request we would let you know before we carry out any work on the request. In such cases payment must be received before we will send the information.
Under FOI, we will not charge for staff time, unless other legislation allows this. However, if the cost of complying with the request exceeds the 'appropriate limit' then we are permitted to recover our full costs, including staff time. The appropriate limit is set at 18 hours (or £450) and is outlined below.
Under EIR, in some circumstances we can charge a fee for making the information available. Any charge should be ‘reasonable’ – it should not exceed the costs we incur in making the information available. It may cover the cost of the paper for photocopying or printing the information and a covering letter and the cost of postage. It may also include the cost of staff time in identifying, locating or retrieving the information from storage.
There is no charge for:
- information contained in the public registers we hold
- lists of information
- published data sets
- information published in our disclosure log
- examining information at the council's offices.
What we will charge for
We won't charge for the first £450 (known as the appropriate limit) worth of council officer time spent on:
- working out whether we hold the information
- locating and retrieving the information
- extracting the information (including editing).
Where we estimate that search and collation time will exceed £450, we will discuss the requirements with you and try to reduce the costs to within that limit. If this is not possible we will consider each request individually and either:
- refuse to answer the request, or
- apply a charge of £25 per hour of officer time to all work we undertake to fulfil the request.
Expenses will be charged based on the following:
- Reproducing documents will be charged in accordance with the council's approved fees and charges.
- Postage and other forms of transmissions for example fax - at cost.
- Additional costs when an applicant requests the information in a particular format - at cost.
Please note – the amount charged will not exceed the amount it costs to provide the information.
Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations (RPSI)
While local authorities are able to charge for datasets under FOI/EIR and RPSI for information generated under them to be re-used, we have chosen to publish our available data and FOI/EIR responses on our website under the Open Government Licence (version 3). Please take a look at our webpage about re-use of public sector information for guidance on what you can and cannot do with the data we provide.