The Council will aim to provide the information that you have requested free of charge unless there is an existing fee in place.
However, Section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act (2000) states;
‘The general right of access to information held by public authorities does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit’.
The current appropriate fee limit is £450 for a local authority – about 18.5 hours of an officer's time. Anything over this and the Council can issue a Fee Notice or refuse your request.
A modified request would be considered provided the work involved does not, again, exceed the fee limit. The Freedom of Information Officer can provide you with advice and assistance in modifying your request when needed.
If you are given a Fee Notice it will show how the costs have been calculated and you will be given three months in which to pay the charge or modify your request, after which time your information request will be considered as closed.
The 20 working day response period and the retrieval of information will be put on hold until the fee is received by the Council.