Freedom of Information Act

Scotland 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 Scotland what total sum has been received by his Department for the provision of information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in its first year of operation.

Photo of David Cairns David Cairns Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Scotland Office

The Scotland Office has not received any monies in relation to the provision of information under the Freedom of Information Act in its first year of operation.

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 is 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 DCA website at http://www.foi.gov.uk/feesguide.htm

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