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Freedom of Information Act 2000

Volume 470: debated on Monday 7 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what guidance his Department, or the former Department for Constitutional Affairs, provided on the maximum amount of time a public authority can take to assess the public interest when responding to a validly constituted Freedom of Information request. (176671)

Guidance provided by my Department for Freedom of Information practitioners states that any additional time taken in responding to a request to assess the public interest must be “realistic and reasonable in the circumstances of the particular case”. The guidance can be found in full in the Procedural guidance on our website:

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will use his powers to designate regional chambers as public authorities for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. (176520)

The Government are currently consulting on extending the coverage of the Freedom of Information Act to those bodies that carry out the function of a public nature and to contractors who provide services which are a function of that public authority. This consultation paper can be found at

This consultation will conclude on 1 February 2008. Following analysis of the responses, the Government will decide whether to make a section 5 order and, if so which bodies to consult about whether they, or organisations they represent, should be brought within the ambit of the Act. My Department will consider the case for regional chambers as part of the consultation process.