FOI request detail


Request ID: FOI-0932-2021
Date published: 21 September 2020

You asked

How much does TFL spend on answering freedom of information requests?

We answered

Our Ref:         FOI-0932-2021

Thank you for your request received on 29 August 2020 asking for information about the cost to answer Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the FOI Act and our information access policy.

We do not hold the information you have requested. The time taken to respond to a request depends on exactly what is asked and how easily the requested information can be sourced. However, even simple requests (for example, where the requested information is already published online) require some administration (all of our FOI cases need to be logged, acknowledged, answered, and the response then published). In most cases the FOI team have to source information from elsewhere within TfL, with those teams then having to spend time locating and retrieving the requested information. The exact amount of time spent on these activities will vary from case to case.

Please note that section 12 of the FOI Act specifies that the maximum cost for responding to a request is £450 (for local government organisations such as TfL). This is calculated at a rate of £25 per hour, equating to 18 hours work. However, the section 12 exemption only allows the following activities to be used in determining the cost of answering a case:

• determining whether the information is held;
• locating the information, or a document containing it;
• retrieving the information, or a document containing it; and
• extracting the information from a document containing it

We cannot include the time taken to consider whether exemptions apply, nor the time take to redact exempt material.

You may be interested to note that of the FOI/EIR requests received this financial year, we have responded on time to every single one of the 687 requests which have been closed to date, building on our compliance last year which saw 3,149 of our 3,169 (99.4%) FOI/EIR requests receive a response within the statutory deadline.

The impact of current circumstances on TfL’s resources means we are not able to answer FOI requests readily and we ask that you please do not make a request to us at present.
Answering FOI requests will require the use of limited resources and the attention of staff who could be supporting other essential activity. In any event, please note that our response time will be affected by the current situation.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Gemma Jacob
Senior FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

[email protected]

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