Freedom of Information fees policy

Most requests for information are free of charge to you as an applicant. If we estimate that it will take longer than 18 working hours to fulfil, your request could be chargeable.

The majority of requests for information, other than those involving access to information that is chargeable under our Publication Scheme, will continue to be free of charge to you as an applicant.  Nevertheless, Regulations made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 make provision for fees to be levied in some circumstances.

In cases where we expect significant staff time to be involved in locating and retrieving the information required, we shall estimate the time likely to be needed.  The Regulations allow us to take account only of time spent determining whether we hold the information requested, locating it, retrieving it and extracting it from documents (editing or redacting).

If this estimate is less than 18 working hours, no fee will be charged.  Should the estimate clearly exceed 18 working hours we shall first endeavour to agree with you a reduction in the scope of the enquiry that will bring the estimate below 18 hours.  If this proves not to be possible we shall use our discretion to either:

1) refuse the request on grounds of disproportionate cost; or
2) issue a Fees Notice in accordance with the Act.

The appropriate limit as detailed in the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 is set, by the Secretary of State, at £450 for Ordnance Survey.  We can take into account the costs attributed to the time persons are expected to spend on these activities at £25 per hour per person (regardless of actual cost or rate of pay) which means the limit will be exceeded if these activities exceed 18 hours. 

In most cases we shall waive our right to charge for disbursements such as printing, photocopying and postage costs.  If we do decide to charge for disbursements a Fees Notice will be issued as above.

You have three months in which to pay the fee.  The 20 working days allowed for our response to the enquiry is extended automatically by the period of time between the issue of the fees notice and our receiving payment.  If payment has not been received at the end of three months the enquiry will be closed.

Where a fee has been paid, and the actual time spent on locating and retrieving the information is less than the estimate, a refund will be made for each full hour not used.  If the actual time spent exceeds the estimate no further fee will be due.

If you do not agree with our decision on charging, you can ask the Information Commissioner to intervene.

Important note: Information supplied under the Freedom of Information Act may be subject to Crown Copyright, and re-use may require a licence for which a separate fee may be charged.  If you have any questions about permitted use of the information we supply, please contact us.