Charges for information requests
Under fee regulations set by the Ministry of Justice, we can charge for information requests as follows:
- A fee to cover prescribed costs (costs reasonably incurred in finding, sorting or editing material). This does not include costs involved with deciding whether the information is exempt. There is a threshold cost set at £450. Fees may only be charged where the prescribed costs exceed this threshold. Prescribed costs may be charged for in full for requests in excess of £450 at a standard rate of £25 per hour.
- The cost of disbursements (printing, copying and postage costs at a standard rate of 10p per sheet) may be charged in all cases.
The regulations allow for aggregation of costs where two or more requests on the same or related subject are received from one person or by different enquirers who appear to be involved in a campaign. These subsequent requests must be received before the 60th working day following the first request.
Our charging policy for Freedom of Information requests
OFFA will not normally charge for disbursements under £20, but reserves the right to charge on a case by case basis.
We will not charge for the prescribed costs of dealing with Freedom of Information (FOI) requests up to £450, calculated at a standard rate of £25 per hour. We will not normally agree to fulfil requests where the cost of locating, retrieving and producing the information is in excess of £450 but, where we agree to do so, we reserve the right to charge the full cost on a case by case basis. However, we will always aim to avoid having to make a charge by first discussing with you whether your request can be modified or refined to a more manageable level. Where charges apply or are likely to apply, we will notify you of the estimated charges before doing any charged work.
Assuming we can meet your request, we will not charge for providing information in an alternative format if you are covered by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), unless the original document was a priced publication. In this case, the charge for the alternative format will not exceed the cost of the original publication.
We will not normally charge extra if you wish to have a hard copy of information rather than accessing it electronically from our website.
If the information you want is readily accessible from another source, we may forward your request to the relevant authority. However, this may attract a charge.
Where charges apply, we will ask you to pay us in full before we compile and supply information.