Freedom of Information Act

Health written question – answered on 14th February 2006.

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Photo of Bob Spink Bob Spink Conservative, Castle Point

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what total sum has been received by her Department for the provision of information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in its first year of operation.

Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health) (Care Services)

The Department has not received any money for provision of information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, either in the form of fees where the cost of processing a request would have exceeded the appropriate limit or in payment for disbursements.

The Freedom of Information Act allows for public authorities to determine when the cost of processing a request will exceed the appropriate limit, which for central Government are set at £600 and for the wider public sector £450. In this instance the public authority may decide to either approach the applicant to help them refine their request and where possible to bring it under the appropriate limit. Alternatively, public authorities may charge the applicant the cost of processing the request. There is, however, no obligation for Departments to provide information if the cost of processing the request exceeds the appropriate limit.

Public authorities may also charge for disbursements when handling requests where it is deemed appropriate. Further information on the FOI fees regime can be found on the Department for Constitutional Affairs' website at www.foi.gov.uk/feesguide.htm.

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