(1) An agency may impose a charge (a processing charge) for dealing with an access application at a rate of $30 per hour for each hour of processing time for the application.(2) The processing time for an application is the total amount of time that is necessary to be spent by any officer of the agency in:(a) dealing efficiently with the application (including consideration of the application, searching for records, consultation, decision-making and any other function exercised in connection with deciding the application), or(b) providing access in response to the application (based on the lowest reasonable estimate of the time that will need to be spent in providing that access).(3) The application fee of $30 paid by an applicant counts as a payment towards any processing charge payable by the applicant.(4) Access to government information granted in response to an access application may be made conditional on payment of any processing charge imposed for dealing with the application.
(1) An applicant is entitled to a 50% reduction in a processing charge imposed by an agency if the agency is satisfied that the applicant is suffering financial hardship.(2) The agency may refuse to allow the discount if satisfied that the applicant is making the application on behalf of another person in order to obtain the discount for that person.(3) The regulations may prescribe circumstances that constitute financial hardship.
(1) An applicant is entitled to a 50% reduction in a processing charge imposed by an agency if the agency is satisfied that the information applied for is of special benefit to the public generally.Note. The discount applies only to the processing charge, not the application fee. If a 50% reduction in processing charge applies, the application fee will pay for the first 2 hours of processing time (not just the first hour). See section 64.
A decision to refuse to reduce a processing charge is reviewable under Part 5.(2) If the information applied for was not publicly available at the time the application was received but the agency makes the information publicly available either before or within 3 working days after providing access to the applicant, the applicant is entitled to a full waiver of the processing charge imposed by the agency.(3) The Information Commissioner may, for the assistance of agencies, publish guidelines about reductions in processing charges under this section.
If an access application is made for personal information about the applicant (the applicant being an individual), the agency cannot impose any processing charge for the first 20 hours of processing time for the application.
(1) An agency may by notice to an applicant require the applicant to make an advance payment of a processing charge (as an advance deposit).(2) The period within which the application is required to be decided stops running from when the decision to require an advance deposit is made until payment of the advance deposit is received by the agency.(3) The notice requiring an advance deposit must:(a) include a statement of the processing charges for work already undertaken by the agency in dealing with the application, and(b) include a statement of the estimated processing charges for work expected to be required to be undertaken by the agency in dealing with the application, and(c) specify a date by which the advance deposit must be paid (being a date at least 20 working days after the date the notice is given), and(d) include a statement that if the advance deposit is not paid by the due date the agency may refuse to deal further with the application and that this will result in any application fee and advance deposit already paid being forfeited.(4) An agency can extend the date by which an advance deposit must be paid and is to give the applicant notice of any extension (indicating the new date by which the advance deposit must be paid).
(1) The maximum advance deposit that can be required is 50% of the amount that the agency estimates to be the total processing charge for dealing with the application (ignoring any reduction in processing charge to which the applicant may be entitled).(2) More than one advance deposit can be required so long as the total of the advance deposits required does not exceed the maximum advance deposit.
(1) An agency may refuse to deal further with an access application if the applicant has failed to pay an advance deposit within the time required for payment (unless the applicant has applied for review under Part 5 of the decision to require the advance deposit within the time required for payment of the advance deposit).(2) An agency must give notice to the applicant of its decision to refuse to deal further with the application.(3) The review under Part 5 of a decision to refuse to deal further with an application for failure to pay an advance deposit is to be a review of both the decision to refuse to deal further with the application and the decision to impose the advance deposit (unless the decision to impose the advance deposit has already been reviewed under that Part).
(1) An applicant is entitled to a refund of advance deposits paid by the applicant to the extent (if any) that the advance deposits paid exceed the total processing charges payable for dealing with the application.