Charges for Information
The information set out in the schedule of charges details our charges for providing you with information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoIA), the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) and the Data Protection Act 1998. Our charges reflect current statutory requirements and guidance.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000
We do not charge for processing requests under the FoIA, providing that the cost of processing does not exceed that statutory limit of £450. This allows for 18 hours (two and a half days) of officer time, at a rate of £25 per hour. When estimating how long it will take to process a request, we take into account the time it will take us to locate, retrieve and extract the information requested; the cost of communicating that information to you and staff time spent on carrying out the activities related to supplying the information.
We reserve the right to refuse a request where the estimated cost of processing exceeds £450. However, before a refusal on this basis, we will always work with you to look at other ways of providing the information so that your request does not exceed the statutory limit.
Where we agree to process a request which exceeds the statutory limit of £450, you will be asked to pay our processing costs at a rate of £25 per hour.
The Data Protection Act 1998
When processing a Subject Access Request under the Data Protections Act 1998, we will charge a standard administration fee of £10 (per application) which is payable in advance of your request being processed.
In rare cases, where the information requested is held in an unstructured filing system we will apply the charges applicable for dealing with requests under the FoIA (see schedule of fees and charges).
Visit the Subject Access Request page for details on how to make a request and to apply.
Any disbursements associated with the processing of your request are payable in advance. Examples of disbursements include the costs of postage, reproducing the information and printing. See the table below for our disbursement charges.
Making more than one FOI request
For the purpose of calculating the statutory limit, where we receive two or more requests, within 60 days of each other, from an individual or group of individuals who appear to us to be acting together or in pursuance of a campaign, we may be entitled to aggregate the costs of processing those requests.
The Environmental Information Regulations 2004
In dealing with requests for information under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR), we are entitled to charge a reasonable amount towards the cost of reproducing the information for you in the format you have requested. Our standard charges for reproducing information are set out in the table below.
We will ask you for payment before we process your request and in accordance with the law, you will have 60 working days to pay.
Refusing a request for environmental information
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.In determining if the cost of processing your request is unreasonable, we may have regard to the statutory limit for processing requests under the FoI Act. This means that if we estimate that the cost of processing your request exceeds £450, then we reserve the right to refuse your request. This allows for 18 hours (two and a half days) of officer time at a rate of £25 per hour.
VAT on FOI and 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.
If we are asked for information that is available from another source (not being a public authority), any fees would attract VAT.
Fees charged for information that is provided in accordance with the council’s publication scheme, will attract VAT.
Challenges to charges
If you consider that a fee has been wrongly charged under FOI or EIR, it is open to you to request an internal review of the decision to impose the charge. Complaints must be made within 40 working days and sent to:
Data Protection Officer
Ashford Borough Council
Kent TN23 1PL
Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you consider the outcome of the internal review to be unsatisfactory, you may complain to the Information Commissioner's Office.
Review of charges
These charges will be reviewed annually and are subject to change.