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Freedom of Information

Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to the Leader of the House's answer of 16 October 2006, Official Report, column 582, on Parliamentary Questions, how many requests were made to each Department by hon. Members for information sought using the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in the last 12 months. (95595)

The Freedom of Information Act requires each case to be assessed on its individual merits and so Departments do not collect information on requestor type, including Members of Parliament. The quarterly statistical reports published by my Department contain information on the implementation of FoI in central Government, including the number of requests received, the timeliness of responses, and the outcomes of requests.

However, it is estimated from information obtained during the Government's recent review of the Freedom of Information Act that between 300 and 400 requests are made to central Government by Members of Parliament each year.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs when the Government plan to introduce legislation to amend the Freedom of Information Act 2000 provisions on calculating fees limits and aggregating requests. (95799)

There are no plans to amend the Freedom of Information Act. However the Government are considering changes to the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 to extend the activities which count towards the appropriate limit and to amend the circumstances in which public authorities may aggregate requests for the purposes of calculating the appropriate limit.

The Government will take stock of the responses to the report of the independent review on the impact of the Act, published on 16 October 2006, before bringing forward any secondary legislation.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether the Government’s proposals to amend the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to allow public authorities to aggregate requests will allow authorities to aggregate requests from the same organisation but on substantively different topics. (95842)

There are no plans to amend the Freedom of Information Act. However the Government are considering changes to the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 to allow public authorities to aggregate requests from the same organisation on different topics.