FOI request detail

Time spent on FOI

Request ID: FOI-1266-1920
Date published: 14 August 2019

You asked

I would like to know how much time is spent, on average, processing a FOI request.

We answered

TfL Ref: FOI-1266-1920

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 29th July 2019 asking for information about the time it takes to respond to FOI requests.

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

Specifically you asked:

I would like to know how much time is spent, on average, processing a FOI request.

TfL does not hold the requested information. Requests for information under the FOI Act only covers recorded information held by a public authority. Public authorities are not required to create or generate new information in response to a request. We do not monitor or record the time it takes to answer FOI requests.

However, that said, I would refer you to my previous answer in relation to your related request about the cost of answering FOI cases (our ref FOI-0912-1920). As explained in that response, the cost of responding to a case is directly related to the time it takes to respond. The FOI Act specifies a costs exemption of £450 for local government bodies such as TfL, calculated at a rate of £25 per hour in carrying out the following activities:

  • 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.

The £450 threshold equates to 18 hours work. The actual 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.

If this is not the information you are looking for please do not hesitate to contact me.

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

Yours sincerely,

David Wells

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

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