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Departmental Freedom of Information

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 11 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 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. (299137)

During 2005, 2006 and 2007 six staff were employed in the central Freedom of Information Advice Team that manages FOI requests in CLG. This reduced to five staff in 2008 and 2009. This represented a staff resource expenditure of £224,000 in 2006-07, £237,000 in 2007-08, £234,000 in 2008-09 and a projected figure of £231,000 in 2009-10. Comparable cost figures are not available for 2005-06.

These figures only cover the management of the service and the response to general questions which can be answered by a central team—that is staff whose involvement in FOI requests accounts for more than half of their time. The detailed policy specific FOIs are generally answered by policy officials within the policy teams but the time spent by them on this activity is not separately measured, and nor is the cost of lawyers’ time involved in advising on handling of FOI requests.