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House of Commons Hansard
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Departmental Freedom of Information
11 November 2009
Volume 499
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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 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. [299143]

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The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has 10 staff in its Information Rights Team who are responsible for managing Freedom of Information (FOI) and subject access requests under the FOI and Data Protection Acts respectively. However, a large number of staff in the FCO play a role in answering FOI requests and to find out exactly how many would incur disproportionate cost.

A report prepared for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) by Frontier Economics Ltd., in October 2006, entitled “Independent Review of the impact of the Freedom of Information Act” estimated a figure of £254 for a central Government body to deal with an initial FOI request. Based on this figure, the FCO spent an estimated £334,010 on initial FOI requests in 2005, £261,620 in 2006, £260,604 in 2007, £258,826 in 2008 and £232,410 to end October in 2009.

The report is available on the MoJ website at:

http://www.foi.gov.uk/reference/foi-independent-review.pdf