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Departmental Freedom of Information

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 11 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many staff in his Department were employed on the management of freedom of information requests submitted to his Department in each year since 2005; and how much his Department spent on the management of such requests in each such year. (299123)

All freedom of information requests made to my Department are administered by the Data Access and Compliance Unit. Of the 27 staff in the Unit, 19 deal with the management of requests. The remainder are responsible for handling requests under the Data Protection Act 1998, or have managerial or administrative responsibilities.

The Data Access and Compliance Unit was formed in October 2008, and brought together the freedom of information and data protection compliance functions of the former Department of Constitutional Affairs and the National Offender Management Service. Consequently, staffing figures for preceding years could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Information as to my Department’s expenditure on the management of freedom of information requests could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, an assessment of the cost of freedom of information within Government can be found in Frontier Economics’ 2006 “Independent Review of the Freedom of Information Act”, a copy of which is available in the House of Commons Library.