Charges for requesting information about the council

We aim to make as much information as possible available for free on our website. You may have to pay a charge to access some kinds of information.

Charges for information under Freedom of Information Act 2000

We do not charge for processing right of access requests under the Freedom of Information Act, as long as the cost of processing does not go over the statutory limit of £450. This allows for 18 hours (2.5 days) of staff time at a rate of £25 per hour. We estimate how long it will take to process a request based on the time it will take us to locate, retrieve and extract the information you request.

If the estimated cost of processing your request is more than £450 we will try to find another way of providing the information so your request does not exceed this statutory limit. If this is not possible we reserve the right to refuse your request. If we agree to process your request you will be asked to pay our processing costs at a rate of £25 per hour.

Charges for printing, photocopying and posting

Under the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, we can charge for postage and other costs related to delivering the information.

We will provide the information in an electronic format, unless this is not possible, or you prefer to receive it in hard copy. Photocopies cost 10p per side, but you will only be charged if your information request costs more than £5, or 50 sides.

Making more than one freedom of information request

If you as an individual or as part of a group make more than one freedom of information request within 60 days we may add together the cost of processing these requests.

Charges for information under Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004

When we deal with requests for information under EIR, we are entitled to charge a reasonable amount towards the cost of searching and reproducing the information for you in the format you have requested. However, we are aware that the main purpose of EIR is to provide access to environmental information and we will make every effort to make as much information as possible freely available.

Usually, it will be obvious when requested information is environmental, for example, information about land development, pollution levels, energy production, and waste management. However, sometimes information might not seem to be obviously environmental but could still fall under the definition. For example, financial information would be classed as environmental information if it related to the costs of redeveloping land and building a new leisure complex.

Charges we make under EIR may not exceed the “actual costs of producing the information” unless we are entitled to levy a market-based charge for the information. No charges can be made for allowing you:

  • access to a public register or list of environmental information
  • to examine the information requested at our offices, if applicable

Additionally, we will attempt to release information under EIR free of charge but we will consider the reasonableness of issuing a charge based on the request made. Our consideration will depend on how wide-ranging the request is and whether the information sets we hold are contained in structured filing systems. When considering a charge we will also refer to our obligations under regulation 9 to provide advice and assistance; as we may be able to help you clarify or narrow down your request and thus incur no charge or a lower charge.

We will ask for payment before we process your request and in accordance with the law, you will have 60 working days to pay.

In rare cases, we may refuse a request where the cost of processing is unreasonable. For example, where processing would place an unreasonable burden upon the council, either in terms of officer time or the costs of reproducing the information sought.

VAT on EIR requests

If we are asked for information, and the information is only available from the council or another public authority, any fees charged would not attract VAT, however, if we are asked for information that is available from another source (not being a public authority), any fees would attract VAT.

Appealing a charge or making a complaint

If you think you have been wrongly charged you can request an internal review of the decision to impose the charge. You can make complaints within 40 days of the charge being made by contacting the Freedom of Information Officer.

Address:

Freedom of Information Officer

Buckinghamshire Council

The Gateway

Gatehouse Road

Aylesbury

HP19 8FF

Email: [email protected]

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of this internal review, you can complain to the Information Commissioner (external website).

Review of charges

These charges will be reviewed annually and are subject to change.