The Government has drafted amended FOI fees regulations which will allow public authorities to take into account more comprehensively the work involved in dealing with an FOI request (Department for Constitutional Affairs - Publications - Consultation papers - Draft Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2007) and is now inviting written evidence on the draft Regulations. The deadline is fast approaching.

The British Computer Society would like to submit a response to this consultation, and is inviting members to contribute to it.

It is proposed that:

a) All contributions are sent to BCS ( by 26th February 2007;

b) These contributions are used to put together a BCS response on this matter, by 8th March 2007.

Please note that in the submitted paper comments must address the following issues in particular:

> Are the Regulations prescriptive enough to ensure consistent calculation of the appropriate limit across public authorities or should they contain more detail? For example, taking into account the differing formats and quantity of information requested, should a standard reference (i.e. a 'ready reckoner') for how long a page should take to read be included in the Regulations or guidance?

> Does the inclusion of thresholds in the regulations provide sufficient flexibility, taking into account the differing complexity of requests received?

> Are the thresholds the right ones to make sure the balance is struck between allowing public authorities to count these activities but not refuse requests on one of these grounds alone?

> Are the regulations as drafted the best way of extending the aggregation provision?

> Do the factors that need to be taken into account when assessing if it is reasonable need to be explicitly stated in the regulations or can this be dealt with in the guidance?

> Are these the right factors?

> What guidance would best help public authorities and the general public apply both the EIRs and the Act effectively under the new proposals?

You may not wish to respond to all questions listed but feedback is welcomed in areas where you have a view.

Related links to this article:
British Computer Society

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